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May 6, 2012
Lancashire 296 for 3 (Croft 82) beat Leicestershire 291 for 7 (Cobb 137) by 5 runs
Josh Cobb's maiden one-day century failed to prevent Leicestershire from suffering a narrow opening Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat against Lancashire at Old Trafford. The Foxes came up five runs short despite Cobb anchoring a pursuit of 297 with a belligerent 137 in a match littered with good batting and indifferent bowling and fielding.
Cobb hit eight fours and six sixes in 99 balls but fell to a superb catch from Lancashire captain Steven Croft as he ran back from point, leaving the Foxes at 223 for 4 at the end of the 31st over, still needing 74 to win. Matthew Boyce scored 64 as Leicestershire, who needed 13 off the last over, finished on 291 for 7.
On a good pitch, Lancashire put their Championship batting woes behind them to post 296 for 3, the club's highest ever score in this form of the game. Croft top-scored with 82 off 71 balls, while South Africa's Ashwell Prince added 79 off 73 and Stephen Moore a 53-ball 74.
But the Lightning should have been defending a score in excess of 300 after Prince and Moore put on 135 for the first wicket inside 17 overs. Although the scoring rate was never slow, the home side could have put the game completely out of reach had they been a bit more clinical in the latter stages.
Cobb had a hand in an impressive piece of Leicestershire fielding when he relayed a ball to Joseph from long-on to long-off as he was going over the rope. And he provided their magic with the bat too after being handed a life on nought when Moore dropped a simple chance at first slip off Sajid Mahmood's first ball of the innings.
Mahmood had Jacques du Toit caught behind in the third over but Cobb and Greg Smith built a platform with a second-wicket stand of 84 in 10 overs. England Lions left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, the game's best bowler with 3 for 44, then removed Smith and Ramnaresh Sarwan, caught at short cover and long-on respectively, to put the hosts on top at 113 for 3 in the 18th over.
But Cobb bossed a fourth-wicket stand of 110 inside 14 overs with Boyce, who was happy to accumulate at a run-a-ball. Cobb hit sixes over midwicket, long-on and straight down the ground but Leicester were left with too much to do when he fell to Naqaash Tahir.
When Boyce was caught at deep mid-wicket by Croft off Mahmood in the 37th over, a task of 38 off 20 balls was just too stiff.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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