Croft and Parry deliver Lancashire victory
Lancashire 187 for 8 beat Durham 137 by 50 runs
Steven Croft's first 20-over half-century of the season set up Lancashire's thumping 50-run Friends Provident t20 win over Durham Dynamos at Old Trafford this evening.
The 25-year-old's 68 off 45 balls, including seven fours and two sixes, was the fourth of his career in this format. The Lightning comfortably defended their imposing 187 for 8 which also included 36 off 26 from Australian overseas star Simon Katich and 32 not out off 19 from New Zealand all-rounder Nathan McCullum.
Left-arm spinner Stephen Parry claimed 4 for 28 from his four overs as Durham slumped to 137 all out in the 19th over. Liam Plunkett top scored with 31 off 24.
Steve Harmison claimed a career best 5 for 41 from his four overs for Durham and became the first man to take five wickets in this season's competition. Peter Moores re-jigged his batting order by promoting Stephen Moore (21 off 12) to open and Croft to bat at three.
Lancashire lost Tom Smith, Moore and Paul Horton in the first six overs to Steve Harmison, Ben Harmison and Liam Plunkett but scored 55 runs.
Croft and Katich shared a fourth wicket partnership of 67 in seven overs through the middle of the innings.
Croft flicked Ben Harmison into the seats under the Point - opened to the public for the first time - before Katich swept Dale Benkenstein for another maximum over square leg and Croft did the same to Ian Blackwell over mid-wicket.
Katich was bowled by Plunkett in the 14th over and Croft later edged Harmison behind to Phil Mustard to leave the hosts at 163 for five in the 18th. Harmison then bowled Gareth Cross and Glen Chapple and had Sajid Mahmood caught at mid on by his brother in the last over of the innings.
But Durham's response got off to a disastrous start because they lost Blackwell and destructive Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor within three overs. McCullum had Blackwell caught at backward point by Smith in the first and Taylor caught by Parry at short third man to leave the score at 13 for 2.
Mustard hit 21 off 17 balls but was bowled by Mahmood in the sixth. And although their run rate was reasonable they could not halt the flow of wickets. Parry had Ben Stokes and Benkenstein caught at long off and long on by Simon Kerrigan and Croft in successive balls to leave the score at 63 for 5in the eighth.
Parry later had Gareth Breese lbw and Will Smith caught in the covers by Katich with successive balls in the 12th. Plunkett and Ben Harmison (24) shared a consolatory ninth wicket partnership of 52 but Kerrigan and Chapple added further wickets.