Returning all-rounder Tom Smith is targetting a perfect record from Lancashire Lightning’s remaining Yorkshire Bank 40 fixtures after boosting their hopes of Group B qualification with victory over Essex.
The Red Rose followed up their astounding LV=County Championship at Chelmsford – where Essex were bowled out for 20 – with a 64-run victory over the table-topping Eagles.
And Smith, whose season has been dogged by injury, is relieved to be back in first team action but has highlighted the win as the major plus point.
“With our run-rate boosted, it puts us in a great position,” he told Lancashire’s official website.
“There’s five games left and quite a few at home, which we need to make count. Every game’s a cup final now – we have to win them all and see where we are at the end of it.
“It’s great to be back, but more importantly to win.”
Lancashire lost wickets consistently throughout their innings but finished with a score of 260-8, underpinned by a run-a-ball 60 from Simon Katich.
Opening batsman Ashwell Prince made a valuable 31 while Peter Moores’ side were again indebted to lower-order contributions to accumulate a solid total.
Gareth Cross found the boundary ropes five times in his 29 while Kabir Ali hit 20 and skipper Glen Chapple made 22 from his 13 balls at the crease.
In reply, Essex lost the early wickets of Tom Westley and Mark Pettini to rekindle memories of Friday’s mauling, although their third-wicket partnership gave them hope.
New Zealander Hamish Rutherford and former Middlesex captain Owais Shah smacked five sixes between them in a partnership of 94.
However, once Stephen Parry removed Rutherford – caught by Steven Croft – and Chapple returned to remove Shah, Lancashire were in control.
Ali and Smith joined forces to take four wickets in eight balls as the Red Rose ran out comfortable winners, dismissing Essex for 166.
Chapple and Ali shared six wickets while there were two apiece for Smith and Parry, who was once again Lancashire’s most economical bowler.
And after recording their thrid away victory on the spin, Smith insists Lancashire had to be onsong against Essex who would have wanted a reaction after last week’s events.
“After Friday, I’m sure it was in their minds a little bit,” he added. “But they’re still very strong in one-day cricket, we knew if we got a sniff, we had to keep going at them.
“We had a pretty decent score on that pitch because it wasn’t a typical Chelmsford deck.
“The lads bowled really well. Even when they were going well in the middle of the innings, we managed to drag it back.”
Lancashire are now fourth in Group B and face bottom side Scottish Saltires at Emirates Old Trafford on Tuesday as they eye a late charge for top spot.
Picture courtesy of Kukri, via YouTube, with thanks.