Lancashire have power when its needed
Lancashire 127 for 2 (Moore 66*) beat Yorkshire 124 for 8 (Lyth 32, McClenaghan 2-19) by eight wickets
An electricity failure may not have been the perfect dress rehearsal for hosting the third Investec Ashes Test in a week's time but as omens go, an emphatic hammering of your fiercest rivals to all but secure your place in the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals was almost as good as it gets for Lancashire.
Dominant throughout in front of a partisan 12,151 crowd, Lancashire will qualify for the quarter-finals if Derbyshire fail to beat Leicestershire on Friday. It was the perfect send off, almost, for the refurbished Emirates Old Trafford before it is handed over to the ECB in preparation for potentially the decisive Test in the Ashes.
Yet only a week before the ground will hold 26,000 for the opening day of the Test, Lancashire suffered a 20-minute power cut at the Statham End, which wiped out electricity to the dressing rooms and two floodlights at that end of the ground, and was only resolved shortly before the start. It was perhaps fitting, given his recent form, that Jimmy Anderson should rectify the problem, although not England's premier swing bowler, but his namesake who performs as Lancashire's resident electrician.
That problem apart, which ground officials insisted would not have delayed the start, it was a triumphant evening for Lancashire. The temporary seating area, which will hold 9,000 for the Ashes, was utilised for the first time and they delivered one of their best displays of the season to all but end Yorkshire's slim qualification hopes and boost their own with a fourth win in their last five matches.
Having won the toss and decided to bat first, presumably to ensure Lancashire had the potentially more difficult task of batting under floodlights, Yorkshire's plan backfired spectacularly and they struggled to 124 for 8 on a sluggish pitch. Restricted to 23 for 2 at the end of the six Powerplay overs, they were unable to regain any momentum after being confronted by an electric display in the field from Lancashire.
Their only partnership of note, 33 off 27 balls between Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance, had limited effectiveness because of the athleticism of Lancashire's fielding display that frustrated their desire to show more aggression. Lyth fell to a catch at fine leg attempting to scoop Tom Smith and Ballance fell to a brilliant diving catch by Steven Croft, who ran in from the long-on boundary.
Attempting to gain momentum, Yorkshire suffered two run outs in a desperate chase of runs and recorded only one boundary in their final four overs, which provided a stark contrast to Lancashire's approach when they began their reply. From the moment Stephen Moore pulled two boundaries in the second over from Iain Wardlaw, the contest was all but over.
Moore and Smith added 88 in only 7.4 overs and although Lancashire lost two wickets in Azeem Rafiq's first over, Smith stumped as he advanced down the wicket for an aggressive 42 and Ashwell Prince brilliantly caught at cover by Lyth, any anxiety from the mainly Lancastrian crowd was brief with Moore's unbeaten 66 off 35 balls securing victory with nine overs remaining.