Lancashire defeat Surrey
Lancashire 217 for 4 (Symonds 52*, Flintoff 49) beat Surrey (Ramprakash 45, Benning 42) by 22 runs
Twenty20 finals day got off to an electrifying start as Lancashire, who won the toss, made 217 for 4 from their twenty overs against Surrey, in the first semi-final of the day. It proved too much for Surrey who, despite an aggressive start from their openers, fell 22 runs short.
Lancashire started confidently, if not spectacularly, safe in the knowledge that Andrew Flintoff and Andrew Symonds were waiting in the wings. With Mal Loye and Stuart Law putting on 52 for the first wicket, and Ian Salisbury dropping a simple chance at first slip, the stage was well set for Flintoff. He launched into Surrey's bowlers, striking four fours and three sixes before falling one short of a 28 ball fifty. Symonds matched Flintoff's efforts with a brutal innings of 52, from 30 balls, putting on 79 with the resourceful Dominic Cork.
The pitch stayed true and flat for Surrey's innings, with Alistair Brown - the key for Surrey's record-chasing total - striking a fluent 51 from 32 balls, combining with James Benning to produce a 93 run opening partnership. This gave Surrey a great foundation, and equally realistic hopes of reaching the final, but four quick wickets fell to tighten Lancashire's grip on the game. Mark Ramprakash made a fine 45, but was bowled by man of the match Flintoff.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Lancashire's captain, Mark Chilton, said: "The last eight was going to be a big ask from those boys but we hung in there and did the job."
Andrew Flintoff, released by England to play in the Twenty20 - along with Marcus Trescothick for Somerset - was pleased with his performance today: "I'm pretty much suited to [Twenty20]. It's been a great day so far. I felt like I was batting with a toothpick to start with, then it got better and better and hopefully I can continue that in the final, where the key is to play to our strengths."
The second semi-final, between Leicestershire and Somerset, starts at 3pm.
Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo