Lancashire v Middlesex, Royal London Cup, Group B, Blackpool July 29, 2015

All-round Faulkner gives Lancashire lift-off


Lancashire 162 for 8 (Faulkner 35, Junaid 3-32) beat Middlesex 161 (Bailey 3-31) by two wickets

James Faulkner followed his figures of 2 for 27 with a vital 35 © Getty Images

Lancashire secured their first Royal London Cup win at the third attempt, withstanding a fine spell from Junaid Khan, their former team-mate, to win a fascinating affair by two wickets at Blackpool.

After a washout at Sussex on Sunday and Monday's heavy defeat to Essex at Chelmsford, Lancashire kick-started their Group B campaign but it was far from easy as they crept across the line with two overs to spare despite bowling Middlesex out for 161.

After winning an important toss, James Harris top-scored for Lancashire with 32 on an uneven surface. But Junaid, the Pakistan left-armer on debut for Middlesex, helped the visitors recover with two early wickets, and the chase stumbled to 93 for 6 in the 24th over.

James Faulkner, however, backed up his earlier figures of 2 for 27 by making a crucial 35 in a stand of 47 with Jordan Clark, whose 29 from 63 balls was instrumental in seeing Lancashire home.

Tom Bailey struck three times in an impressive six-over spell with the new ball having come into the Lancashire side for Kyle Jarvis, with the visitors slipping to 36 for 3 in the ninth.

Dawid Malan was caught behind off a Bailey delivery with extra bounce; Sam Robson chopped on from one that kept low and Nick Compton was caught at midwicket after a top-edged pull.

Bailey, with 3 for 31 from eight overs, was ably backed by new-ball partner Gavin Griffiths, whose only wicket was that of Ollie Rayner, who was caught behind to leave Middlesex reeling at 83 for 7 in the 28th over.

In between, Faulkner had Eoin Morgan caught behind and James Franklin caught at short cover by Bailey off a leading edge, while Clark had Nick Gubbins caught at first slip.

Steven Croft struck with his third ball of off-spin in the 37th over when John Simpson was lbw, leaving Middlesex at 111 for 8.

But Harris and Toby Roland-Jones, who made 29, shared 50 in 61 balls for the ninth wicket to give themselves something to bowl at.

Roland-Jones hit Stephen Parry's left-arm spin for successive boundaries in the 47th over before holing out to deep midwicket. Harris then miscued a sweep to square leg next ball.

Khan had Ashwell Prince caught at point in the third over of Lancashire's innings and Karl Brown caught at second slip for a fluent 36, while Harris had Alviro Petersen caught at mid-off.

Wickets continued to fall. Franklin had Croft, on his home ground, caught behind and snared Paul Horton caught at second slip.

When Alex Davies edged Roland-Jones behind, Lancashire still needed 69 with Faulkner and Clark at the crease.

The pair united for just short of 18 overs and Lancashire needed 22 to win when Faulkner gloved a lifter to slip as Junaid finished with 3 for 32. Clark then fell the same way to Harris, leaving Lancashire 15 short with two wickets left.

But Parry settled their nerves before hitting the winning runs off Rayner's off-spin, leaving Middlesex with only one point from two matches.