Smith smashes record-breaking ton
Lancashire 324 for 4 (Smith 106, Moore 113, Croft 67) Worcestershire - Match abandoned
Lancashire opener Tom Smith smashed one of the quickest one-day centuries in history before a rain-affected Clydesdale Bank 40 fixture against Worcestershire was abandoned. Lancashire were then drawn against Warwickshire in their semi-final, to be played at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The 26-year-old allrounder made a triumphant return from a five-week injury lay-off by racing to three figures from 44 balls with eight fours and 10 sixes. His whirlwind innings was equal-fifth fastest in List A matches in the world and places him equal third in domestic cricket. Opening partner Stephen Moore also chalked up a century but a mammoth total of 324 for 4 in a 37-over match counted for nothing when further rain prevented a reply by Worcestershire.
With Lancashire already qualified for the semi-finals and the home side scrambling at the foot of Group A, Smith seized his opportunity to put on a blockbuster performance. At first there was nothing to hint at the destruction to come when young seamers Jack Shantry and Nick Harrison bowled four overs for a respectable 19 runs, but the first warning shots were fired in 4-6-4 burst off Shantry.
The real bombardment broke out in the eighth over of the innings as left-hander Smith targeted the unfortunate Harrison for three sixes and three fours, most of these heaved to the leg-side boundary. With his 50 posted in 24 balls, he became unstoppable, taking three successive sixes off medium-pacer Joe Leach and then driving offspinner Moeen Ali to long-on to complete his century with another maximum.
Moore was content to stay in the shadows in a stand of 150, but when Smith departed for 106, bowled by Shantry from the 46th ball he faced, his opening partner moved smoothly to his century from 96 balls. An early escape in the gully, when Daryl Mitchell put down a sharp chance off Harrison, enabled Moore to reach 50 for the seventh time in 12 CB40 innings and also become the second batsman to go past 500 runs in this season's competition.
Moore hit 11 fours and two sixes before he was caught at deep mid-wicket for 113 after sharing in a stand of 142 with Steven Croft, who made 67 from 52 balls before holing out at long-on. Brett D'Oliveira weathered the storm with some credit, bowling his eight overs for 37, and Harrison picked up a couple of consolation wickets but Lancashire comfortably registered their highest total in the 40-over competition.
The weather denied Vikram Solanki a final one-day innings for Worcestershire before he joins Surrey next summer. Former captain Solanki has been left out of this week's Championship match against Middlesex at New Road. That would leave the final home game against Warwickshire as his last opportunity to play on the ground for Worcestershire.