Lancashire soar to Roses victory
Lancashire 231 for 4 (Brown 69, Prince 59) beat Yorkshire 202 for 8 (Bresnan 51, Parry 3-29, Lilley 3-31) by 29 runs
The T20 Roses match at Headingley four weeks earlier had been painful enough for Yorkshire: defeat off the last ball as Jos Buttler spirited away a game they imagined was theirs for the taking. The return at Old Trafford will cut far deeper. They were sent packing in a manner that they could barely have imagined, thrashed by 29 runs in front of a joyful Manchester crowd. It did not feel that close. There was only one county having fun.
Capacity crowds on both sides of the Pennines this season have again confirmed that the intense Roses rivalry is now also written in T20 script, and why ever not, but it is a strange feature of the NatWest Blast that the counties pulling in the fans have not necessarily pulled in the victories - consider Surrey and Middlesex's struggles in the South Group.
This, therefore, gave Lancashire's victory extra significance. They can again anticipate a top-four place with confidence restored. As for Yorkshire, with five group games remaining a record of three wins, a tie and five losses is not terminal. But the quality of their performance suggested as much.
title: Lancashire undecided on Faulkner
nonbulleted_text: Ashley Giles, Lancashire's director of cricket, was equivocal about how long a county ban James Faulkner might be expected to suffer after his drink-driving chsarge from Greater Manchester Police.
"It's disappointing," Giles said. "In no way at all can the club condone that sort of behaviour and they won't. His behaviour wasn't at all suitable for him to play for Lancashire today and he knows he has got it wrong.
"We were in very good and very clear communication with Cricket Australia but ultimately it was our decision not to play him today.
"We need to talk further about him playing on Monday but we can't keep kicking him in the head either. 99.9% of the stuff he's done for Lancashire cricket has been absolutely superb and now he's got it wrong.
"We can't forget about it but we have to move forward. He was here throughout the game and you could see how much it hurt him not playing." -->
From the last ball of the innings, driven down the ground by Steven Croft, Lancashire achieved their record T20 score and the highest score ever made at Old Trafford in this format: 231 for 4. There were 19 fours and 10 sixes for Lancashire and every one of them had the blood-red stamp that spelled disaster for Yorkshire.
Yorkshire's bowling has lacked the sleight of hand that is vital to succeed in this format - Matt Fisher, only 17, was the one bowler whose reputation emerged unscathed - and their two high-profile Australians, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell, are omitted from a successful Championship side and so become ring-rusty guests in T20: dubious value.
Andrew Gale, Yorkshire's captain, adopted his by now familiar expression of a man discontented with life. Yorkshire's vulnerable attack had persuaded him to put Lancashire in. "We bowled too short and too wide. The ball keeps flying to the fence. You scratch your head and wonder what to do. I would back us to chase most scores but not 232. I actually thought we batted okay. It is not impossible: we can still win five out of five."
There was a third unhappy Australian, although he was lying low. Lancashire rubbed it in by waltzing to victory without one of the world's finest one-day cricketers, the Australian James Faulkner, who can expect to be disciplined by both Lancashire and Australia after he spent Thursday night in a prison cell in Manchester on a drink driving charge.
Spin - or the absence of it - ensured that there would be no recovery. Yorkshire have only one match-winning spinner, Adil Rashid, but he was withdrawn the moment he was summoned into England's squad for the first Investec Test in Cardiff. Lancashire's three spinners, led by Stephen Parry, shared figures of 7 for 110 in 12 overs.
On nights like this, Parry still looks the most artful T20 spinner in the land. To dismiss Finch and Maxwell in his first over was a useful way to mark the award of his county cap earlier in the day. It comes entirely from one-day performances - he has played only nine first-class matches - a sign of changing times.
His third delivery did for Finch as his lofted drive fell to Arron Lilley at long-off, ending a stand of 64 in 6.2 overs for the first wicket, his last silenced Maxwell with the assistance of an excellent catch by Alex Davies - Buttler's snappy stand-in - who plunged low to his right to hold a bottom edge.
For a while, Yorkshire had hung in there. Gale, hitting out cumbersomely, was dropped at short third man on 24; Finch signalled that he had survived a run out on 28 - he had, but only by inches. Surely not turning points? Parry's arrival said not.
Tim Bresnan's stubborn half-century cut the deficit and ensured the most sixes ever seen in a T20 match at Old Trafford, but when he was plucked out of the sky by Ashwell Prince, still a dapper figure at 38 and the batsman who had set Lancashire's innings going, it was a suitable end.
Those who were frustrated by the crabby pitch produced at Lord's 24 hours earlier as Middlesex succumbed again, Sussex their latest conquerors, would have delighted in the crowd-friendly conditions at Old Trafford. A golden pitch and slick outfield told every Lancashire batsman in turn they were a od among men. Inserting a side on pitches like this is a huge gamble.
Lancashire's batsmen set the tone immediately: 16 off the first over, bowled by Maxwell, precise cover drives from Horton, capped by a relaxed straight six from Prince. After six overs, Lancashire's openers had 75 on the board, the second highest Powerplay score of the season.
The innings scaled the heights in the 13th over from Richard Pyrah. Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire's coach, respects Pyrah's nous enough to believe he could have a coaching career, but all the knowledge in the world could not have protected him as Karl Brown took 27 off the over. The first three flew for six, two from crouching sweeps, before Pyrah switched around the wicket, reduced the sixes to fours, and then a single, and at least escaped the ultimate ignominy of all.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps