Lancashire dominate Kent ahead of Blast quarter-final
Lancashire 258 for 9 (Livingstone 91, Davies 57, Croft 55, Coles 4-34) beat Kent 207 (Blake 89, Parry 3-60) by 51 runs
Kent slumped to a disappointing 51-run home defeat in the Royal London Cup with more than 12 overs to spare to allow Lancashire - the team they will meet in next Saturday's NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final at Canterbury - to land a resounding win.
In seemingly ideal batting conditions, they made a complete hash of their target of 259 virtually from ball one and but for Alex Blake's belligerent 89, would have fallen woefully short .
Joe Denly was first to go, driving hard at a wide one from Kyle Jarvis to be snaffled at slip without scoring. Daniel Bell-Drummond (30) appeared well set until a Jordan Clark yorker ricocheted via the back pad onto the base of off stump.
Sam Billings, driving on the charge at slow left-armer Stephen Parry, picked out Steven Croft at short extra cover then Sam Northeast (36) fenced at one from Clark to be caught behind.
A 'yes, no, sorry' moment between Darren Stevens and Fabian Cowdrey ended with both batsmen stood at the non-striker's end and Cowdrey's run out , with Stevens soon to follow, made matters worse.
Matt Coles heaved across the line against James Faulkner to spoon a catch to mid-on, then James Tredwell became the second run out victim when Petersen's direct hit from point left him short of his ground.
Alex Blake moved to 49 by taking 17 off four successive balls from Parry, only for Mitch Claydon to chip back a return catch and leave Kent nine down.
After a 41-ball 50 with three fours and three sixes, Blake added a further three maximums in racing to 89 before being bowled when attempting a slog sweep against Faulkner.
Batting first after losing the toss Lancashire's top order struggled on a white pitch that, possibly through early morning dew, offered some early lateral seam movement to Kent's new ball attack.
Ashwell Prince got off the mark with a sweetly-timed push against Mitch Claydon in the third over but, without addition, nicked an ambitious drive against Coles to James Tredwell at second slip.
In Coles's next over Karl Brown feathered a tentative push through to the keeper Billings to leave Lancashire in trouble at 25 for two at the end of their first 10-over powerplay.
Claydon gave way at the Pavilion End to Matt Hunn, who, with his second ball, had Alviro Petersen caught down the leg-side by a tumbling Billings as the South African right-hander aimed to glance.
Kent should have claimed a fourth victim in the 23rd over when Liam Livingstone's top-edged sweep off Tredwell sailed to deep mid-wicket where, somewhat inexplicably, Denly allowed a simple chance to slip through his grasp and over the ropes.
Livingstone, in form of late for his Lancashire League side and the county second string, took advantage by reaching his maiden 50 for the Lancashire first team from 56 balls and with two sixes and three fours.
Livingstone and Croft added 100 inside 20 overs with Croft reaching his half-century from 76-balls with only three fours but their 112-partnership ended soon after when Croft was caught low by a diving Stevens at point to give Hunn a second fortunate wicket.
Livingstone was only nine short of his hundred when he toe-ended a return catch to the bowler, Stevens, when attempting a 'Dilshan scoop', then Faulkner wafted across the line of a full one from Coles to go leg before.
After a cracking 35-ball 50 with eight fours, Alex Davies holed out to deep cover off Stevens and Parry was caught behind against Coles after throwing the kitchen sink at an attempted drive. Coles, the pick of the home attack, finished with 4 for 34.
Clark skied to long-off to give Claydon his first wicket in the penultimate over but, given the conditions, Lancashire's total of 258 for 9 still looked a below par score.
Livingstone said : "It's a massive win for us because we came here knowing we needed victory to keep ourselves in the competition. I've tried to change a few things with my technique and it would seem that work is starting to pay off. We know we're playing Kent again here next week so I'd like to think I've given myself the best chance of playing in that one too."
Blake admitted: "Although we were only 50 short it felt like a lot more somehow. We need to win every game we can in this competition and that defeat means we'll probably need to win our two remaining matches."