Lancashire storm into semi-finals
Lancashire 152 for 8 (Horton 49*, Brown 44) beat Sussex 132 for 8 by 20 runs
A bruising innings of 44 from 31 balls from Karl Brown proved the difference between the teams as Lancashire overpowered Sussex to progress to the Friends Life t20 finals day, at Edgbaston on August 27. Brown cracked four sixes and a four in his innings, including one vast swipe over midwicket that landed in the road, as Lancashire's total of 152 for 8 set up a comfortable 20-run win.
Brown's acceleration was abetted by the day's top-scorer Paul Horton, who finished unbeaten on 49 from 45 balls, as Lancashire overcame the loss of three wickets in the Powerplay. Stephen Moore smacked a four off the first ball of the match, only to edge Ollie Rayner's follow-up to the keeper; Steven Croft swiped flat-footedly at Chris Liddle to be caught-behind for 19, before Liddle held onto a juggling catch at short cover as Rana Naved's slower ball accounted for Tom Smith.
From 45 for 3, Brown and Horton turned the tide of the innings with a 61-run stand in 7.4 overs. Monty Panesar produced a superb spell of four overs for 15 in which he did not concede a single boundary and deceived Brown into holing out to long leg, but Sussex's other spinners found it harder to contain Lancashire's aggression, as Mike Yardy and Rayner went for 60 runs in six overs.
Sussex's prospects suffered a further blow in the midst of the onslaught as their key batsman Murray Goodwin was forced to leave the field after splitting the webbing of his right hand while dropping a fierce drive off Brown. He was eventually able to bat, but was clearly hampered as he emerged at No. 7 to make 10 from nine balls.
Sussex's run-chase was by this stage faltering. From the second ball of the innings Lou Vincent was caught behind off Sajid Mahmood for a golden duck, and Farveez Maharoof made it 8 for 2 in 11 balls when Ben Brown was bowled for 2. Ed Joyce was then run out for 10 to deepen Sussex's gloom at 31 for 3, and though Chris Nash and yardy staged a revival with a 41-run stand for the fourth wicket, they were both dismissed in the space of three balls by Gary Keedy's left-arm spin.
Without Luke Wright's lower-order prowess to fall back on, Sussex's challenge was effectively over at 73 for 5 with a hobbled Goodwin at the crease. Rana made 34 from 27 balls before he fell in the final over as a 6,500 full house went home disappointed.
Lancashire, who had fallen in each of their three previous Twenty20 quarter-finals, will now face Leicestershire in the finals day on August 27. Hampshire, the reigning champions, will face last season's beaten finalists, Somerset.