Warwickshire storm into final
Warwickshire 236 for 7 50 overs (Powell 44*, North 3-31) defeated Lancashire 137 (Law 47, Carter 4-26) by 99 runs
Warwickshire stormed into the C&G final, beating Lancashire by 99 runs at Edgbaston. The excellent work performed by their tail-enders paid off, as Lancashire stumbled chasing 237 for victory, thanks to disciplined bowling by Warwickshire's seamers.
Lancashire lost their first two wickets cheaply, and worse was to come as their key batsman, Andrew Symonds, was caught by the South African Makhaya Ntini off Neil Carter. Indeed, Ntini and Carter were the stars for Warwickshire; Ntini took 2 for 12 from 10 overs to really apply the brakes, and Carter 4 for 26 from 6 overs.
Lancashire were in trouble at 90 for 5, but staged a recovery through Stuart Law and Dominic Cork. The pair only put on 33, but while Law was at the crease, Lancashire could still hope for victory. His wicket, caught behind off Carter for 47, spelt the end as Lancashire lost their last five wickets for just 14 runs.
Earlier, a late flurry by Mike Powell and Tony Frost had steadied Warwickshire to what was a reasonable score, after a clutch of middle-order wickets saw them reduced fo 155 for 7, thanks to tight bowling from Lancashire.
Warwickshire's innings started brightly, despite the early loss of Neil Carter for 13 who fell to James Anderson. Nick Knight and Jonathan Trott consolidated in a stand worth 48, but Knight fell for a rare low score as Lancashire tightened their grip on the game, with regular wickets. The highly promising fast-bowler, Sajid Mahmood, dismissed Trott, which spelt a collapse for Warwickshire who lost five for 29, including Jim Troughton who had made 34 at a run a ball.
Marcus North's accurate off-spin accounted for three of their wickets, and he was indebted to Warren Hegg, who completed two stumpings and two catches. North, an underused bowler, ended with the impressive figures of 3-31 from eight overs. Powell and Frost's brilliant late burst, in which they put on 81 for the eighth wicket, dampened Lancashire's hopes of dismissing them for under 200, and it was this late-rally which ultimately won the game for Warwickshire.
Warwickshire will face Hampshire in the final at Lord's, on September 3.
Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo