Red Rose on the march
Lancashire eased to their fifth win in seven games with a six-wicket triumph over Leicestershire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group A clash at Grace Road.
Stephen Moore, Ashwell Prince and Steven Croft all hit half-centuries as the Red Rose cruised to their victory target of 219 with 4.2 overs to spare.
The win puts them two points behind leaders Middlesex, with three games in hand. The Foxes could only post a disappointing 218 for eight despite a brilliant unbeaten 83 from 18-year-old Shiv Thakor, while Glen Chapple claimed 4-46 - his best return for six years in the 40-over game.
An opening stand of 108 in 17 overs between Moore and Prince gave the Lightning a perfect start, with the former dominating the early stages of the innings with 36 of the 48 runs that came off the first powerplay.
He reached 50 off 46 balls - his fifth in seven games - but was then caught at cover off medium-pacer Michael Thornely for 60. Prince reached his half-century off 62 balls with two fours plus a six off Thakor, but holed out to midwicket having hit 85 off 89 balls.
Two wickets in successive balls from Rob Taylor brought a brief halt to Lancashire's progress but Croft saw them home with an unbeaten 57 off 58 balls.
Thakor, who has just taken his A-levels, was the star turn of Leicestershire's innings in his first game in the competition this season, after the Foxes had plunged to 68 for four in 16 overs.
Will Jones was out lbw to Tom Smith in the opening over, Greg Smith was bowled by Chapple for 20 and the prized wicket of the in-form Ramnaresh Sarwan was taken by Ajmal Shahzad.
Sarwan, who has hit two centuries in the CB40 this season, looked in good touch again, until he was caught at cover off a leading edge for 20, and when Thornely chopped a Shahzad delivery back into his stumps, Lancashire were in total control.
But Matthew Boyce and Thakor dragged the Foxes back into the game. Despite a lack of boundaries they shared a 50-run stand in 10 overs and Boyce reached his own half-century off 60 balls with two fours. Thakor's 50 soon followed and came off 60 deliveries with three fours.
But the stand was broken when Boyce was stumped as he lost balance trying to reverse-sweep Gary Keedy. The partnership of 96 contained 66 singles - 33 to each player.
After Boyce's departure, Thakor began to attack, square cutting Chapple to the boundary and then pulling him for six.
But Chapple took the last three wickets. The impressive Thakor’s knock came from 74 balls as the Foxes scored 42 runs off the last four overs.