Lancashire open campaign with win
Lancashire 201 for 5 (Moore 50, Querl 2-45) beat Unicorns 181 for 9 (Parsons 31, Chapple 3-25, Maharoof 3-33) by 20 runs
Lancashire Lightning celebrated the start of a new era for their Old Trafford ground with a comfortable 20-run Clydesdale Bank 40 victory over the Unicorns. The Red Rose county, playing three spinners, defended their competitive 201 for 5 on a slow and low pitch, restricting their visitors to 181 for 9.
This was the first competitive match played after the re-orientation of the square during the winter as part of the venue's redevelopment, with the Statham End and Pavilion End those now in use.
Stephen Moore scored 50, Steven Croft 41 and Farveez Maharoof a brisk 38 not out after the hosts had been invited to bat first by visiting captain Keith Parsons. Glen Chapple and Sri Lankan Maharoof then returned figures of 3 for 25 and 3 for 33 respectively in the Unicorns' chase.
Timing the ball was a particular problem for both sides, with Moore and Maharoof looking most at ease. Lancashire only scored 85 runs between overs 10 and 30 but Maharoof and Gareth Cross, who hit 18 off eleven balls, accelerated as they helped to take 50 off the last five overs. Maharoof cracked four fours and a straight six off the medium pace of Glen Querl to boost Lancashire.
Querl was the pick of the visitors' attack with 2 for 45 from eight overs and spin duo Amar Rashid, the brother of Yorkshire's Adil, and Chris Peploe also struck.
Unicorns opener Jackson Thompson smeared Chapple for six over cover early in their chase but the home captain responded well by taking wickets in three overs to leave the score at 34 for 3 in the ninth. He bowled Michael Thornely, had Thompson caught behind by Cross and had Chris Benham caught at first slip.
Wicketkeeper Josh Knappett (25) and Parsons (31) steadied the ship with a fourth-wicket partnership of 58 in 15 overs. But the required rate had increased thanks to tight bowling from left-arm spin duo Simon Kerrigan and Stephen Parry.
When medium pacer Luke Procter bowled Knappett and Gary Keedy had Parsons caught behind the hosts were firmly on top with the score at 92 for 5 in the 25th. And they further strengthened their hold when Maharoof bowled Rashid and Parry had Luis Reece caught at short fine-leg by Keedy. The Unicorns were then 137 for 7 in the 32nd.
Maharoof continued his fine start to life as a Lancashire player - he scored a debut hundred in the recent Championship win over Somerset - with the further scalps of Neil Saker and Querl.