May 4, 2001

Lancashire crush Derbyshire thanks to Murali and Atherton

Muttiah Muralitharan and Mike Atherton linked up to give Lancashire a crushing ten-wicket victory over Derbyshire in Liverpool which kept their hopes of reaching the Benson & Hedges quarter-finals alive.

Lancashire had lost their first two groups games against Durham and Leicestershire but they were always on top after Muralitharan had bowled his ten overs for four runs, one of the most economical performances in the competition's 29-year history.

Atherton then hit a stylish unbeaten 77 from 111 balls as Lancashire cruised past a target of 118 with more than 16 of their 50 overs to spare.

Dominic Cork had won the toss and chosen to bat but Derbyshire were soon in trouble with John Wood and Peter Martin reducing them to 30 for three.

Muralitharan and Ian Austin then stemmed the flow of runs to a trickle, with Austin picking up the wickets of Wasim Khan and Cork in the 22nd over.

Murali's final figures of 10-7-4-1 were thought to be the best since Chris Old conceded three runs in 11 overs for Yorkshire against Middlesex at Lord's in 1979.

Austin ended with two for 18 from his ten overs, with only two Derbyshire batsmen offering any real resistance - Mathew Dowman, who made 36, and Karl Krikken, who ended unbeaten on 23.

Atherton and Mark Chilton then produced a chanceless unbroken opening stand of 121 in 33.3 overs, with Atherton stroking 11 boundaries and Chilton ending unbeaten on 42, to send Lancashire into Sunday's Roses Match in good heart.

Derbyshire, though, are left without a point from three games, and with no chance of reaching the quarter finals.