Croft leads Lancashire to surprise win
Lancashire 109 for 1 beat Nottinghamshire 105 for 5 (15/15 overs) by nine wickets
An unbroken 97-run partnership between Steven Croft and Tom Smith helped impressive Lancashire crush Nottinghamshire by nine wickets in their Friends Life t20 match at Old Trafford.
In a match reduced to 15 overs per side because of early afternoon rain, Lancashire opted to field first and restricted the Outlaws to 105 for five. They overhauled this total with nine balls balls to spare, Croft finishing 53 not out and Smith unbeaten on 45.
The win moves Lancashire into fourth place in the North Group and the Old Trafford side have a game in hand on all their rivals in the quest for a place in the quarter-finals. Nottinghamshire's defeat was only their second in the 2011 competition.
Lancashire's pursuit began badly when they lost Stephen Moore to a Ben Phillips slower ball in the second over, but Croft and Smith then dominated proceedings, putting on 50 runs in only 40 balls.
Both Outlaws spinners, Samit Patel and Graeme White, came in for rough treatment, the England international being reverse swept for four by Smith, and White being hoisted over midwicket for six by Croft.
Lancashire's skipper then handed out similar treatment to Patel and reached his half-century off 33 balls. Smith was not far behind his partner in demolishing the Nottinghamshire attack, hitting three fours and a six off former colleague Steven Mullaney in his 38-ball innings. Darren Pattinson conceded only 16 from his three overs and was the pick of the visitors' attack
In the first innings Nottinghamshire openers Tamim Iqbal and Alex Hales scored 41 runs in the five-over powerplay before both batsman fell to left-arm spinners in their first overs.
Tamim was caught behind off Gary Keedy, while Hales lofted Stephen Parry straight to long-on Sajid Mahmood. The slow bowlers maintained their grip on the Outlaws batsmen, Keedy removing Patel for 10 and returning fine figures of two for 14 from his three overs.
Parry finished with one for 16 from his allocation and Nottinghamshire's batsmen relied mainly on singles to reach an indifferent 77 for three after 12 overs.
Riki Wessels supplied some much needed acceleration, taking three boundaries off Junaid Khan's second over, which cost 16 runs in all. That spurt helped the former Northamptonshire batsman add 32 in exactly four overs with his skipper Adam Voges.
But an outstanding diving catch at mid-off by Farveez Maharoof removed the South African for 19 and Khan castled top scorer Voges for a boundary-free 29 in the last over as the Outlaws finished on a moderate 105 for 5.