Anderson suffers in Lancashire defeat
Durham 200 for 6 beat Lancashire 117 by 83 runs
Durham leapfrogged Lancashire in the northern section of the Friends Life t20 after a comprehensive 83-run victory at Chester-le-Street. Liam Plunkett was the star of the show, posting career-best 20-over figures of 5 for 31 as he outshone England rival Jimmy Anderson, who finished the evening as the most expensive bowler on display.
Plunkett took a wicket in each of his four overs as Lancashire failed to chase down Durham's imposing target of 201, eventually finishing some way short on 117. The England seamer had Stephen Moore caught by Chris Rushworth at long-on early on, before David Miller produced an excellent diving catch to account for Steven Croft.
Karl Brown edged Plunkett to Phil Mustard to depart for a first-ball duck, and the Teessider followed up with the wickets of Gareth Cross and Jordan Clark to claim his first five-wicket haul in the 20-over format.
Plunkett, who also scored a quickfire, unbeaten 27 with the bat, completed a memorable evening's work when he took a routine catch to dismiss Farveez Maharoof off the bowling of Gareth Breese as Lancashire briefly threatened a recovery.
As it was, the visitors were never in the game once Plunkett struck repeatedly early on, and Durham enjoyed their most comfortable 20-over victory of the season so far. Batting first after losing the toss, Durham compiled their third-highest Twenty20 total ever as Anderson in particular failed to exercise any degree of control.
Dale Benkenstein top scored, with the skipper's 60 runs from 34 balls representing his best-ever 20-over score. He cracked sixes off Gary Keedy and Luke Procter, and appeared ready to lead Durham's charge in the crucial closing overs when he holed out to Tom Smith at deep square leg with 12 balls left.
Anderson was the bowler on that occasion, but the wicket was one of the Lancashire paceman's few successes as his four overs went for a mammoth 54 runs. Both Benkenstein and opener Mustard inflicted considerable damage, before Plunkett and Will Smith plundered 25 runs off the final over of the innings.
With one-day matches against Sri Lanka looming, the England selectors will be hoping Anderson rediscovers his best form in the shorter forms of the game soon.