Smith keeps Lancashire unbeaten
Lancashire 175 for 5 beat Leicestershire 173 for 2 by five wickets
Lancashire Lightning extended their unbeaten run in the Friends Life t20 north group to three games with an emphatic five-wicket win over Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road. Opener Tom Smith hit a sparkling 75 as Lancashire made light work of chasing down a target of 174, cruising to victory with 11 balls to spare.
Josh Cobb top-scored for the Foxes with a competition-best innings of 60 to help them post what looked a challenging total of 173 for 2 after being put in to bat. But it proved to be nowhere near enough as Smith and Stephen Moore shared a quick-fire half-century opening partnership for Lancashire in the first four overs.
The Foxes' attack was unable to contain them and the boundaries flowed until Moore, having made 25 off 13 balls, skied a catch to mid-on off Matthew Hoggard. But Steven Croft joined Smith in another brisk stand of 48 in five overs, hitting six fours in his impressive 33 before holing out to long-on as he mistimed a shot against left-arm spinner Claude Henderson.
Although the Foxes managed to pick up two more wickets in the next five overs, they could not remove danger man Smith, and he struck two glorious sixes plus seven other boundaries in his 45-ball knock. When he was finally bowled by a yorker from Harry Gurney in the 17th over, Lightning needed only nine more runs to win, and an edged four by Luke Proctor off the same bowler saw them safely to victory.
Cobb and Andrew McDonald gave the Foxes a solid start to their innings, putting on 79 in 10 overs. Cobb dominated the stand, showing his intentions with a six off the first ball of the match from Smith. The young opener cleared the ropes three more times and struck three fours before finally being bowled by Gary Keedy in the 10th over.
McDonald reached his half-century off 45 balls, but struck only two boundaries while his innings included 34 singles. Will Jefferson stepped on the accelerator as they shared a third-wicket stand of 65 in five overs, hitting 42 off 19 balls with two sixes and four other boundaries.
However, in the end it was still not enough to prevent Lancashire picking up their second win in three games, with their other result a tied match.