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Parkinson to the fore as Lancashire bloom once more

Matt Parkinson led a posse of Lancashire spinners Getty Images

Lancashire 185 for 5 (Brown 61, Clark 41*, Thomson 4-35) beat Birmingham 148 (Hose 45, Parkinson 3-23) by 37 runs
Scorecard

Exciting young legspinner Matt Parkinson claimed 3 for 23 as Lancashire beat Birmingham Bears by 37 runs to make it back-to-back Vitality Blast wins and strengthen their grip on a quarter-final place.

The Lightning comfortably defended their total of 185 for 5, given to them by Karl Brown's half-century and late-order firepower from Jordan Clark.

Another victory only 24 hours after their Roses triumph at Headingley kept Lancashire third in the North Group table while Birmingham's knockout hopes suffered a blow as they slipped to sixth.

Jim Troughton, Birmingham's coach, too solace in the debut of offspinning allrounder Alex Thomson, who took a wicket in each of his four overs to finish with 4 for 35

Troughton said: "We knew what we would come up against, stack their team with spinners on a used wicket. So we had a personnel change and special mention to Alex for his four-fer on debut. Alex is an impressive young man, he's worked very hard over the winter. He turns the ball and can get bounce.

"Getting a first crack on that wicket was probably important to get. I think the big difference was boundary count between the two teams. They hit eight sixes and we only hit one. The spell from Parkinson pretty much killed us - getting three quick wickets there and ripping the middle order out."

Lancashire won the toss and chose to bat, but Birmingham made a strong start in restricting the opening pair in the Powerplay and the first five overs were all bowled by spin.

Thomson certainly didn't disappoint. He struck in his first over to remove Lancashire's in-form opener Alex Davies for 17. In fact, Thomson took a wicket in each of his four overs to finish with fantastic debut figures of 4 for 35

Lancashire's standout performer was once again opener Brown. 24 hours on from his match-winning half-century against Yorkshire, he delivered another scintillating fifty having been given a life on 32 when Josh Poysden couldn't hold a caught and bowled chance. The fifty from just 32 balls including three 4s and three 6s.

Brown shared a half-century stand with Dane Vilas to take Lancashire to a solid position of 82 for 2 at halfway. But Brown, like Vilas and Arron Lilley, was a victim of Thomson as the Lightning stuttered to 134-4 with five overs remaining.

Their late-order acceleration from Clark and James Faulkner, who came together after Steven Croft holed out in the deep, was pivotal for the hosts.

Clark blasted 41 from 25 balls and together they put on 45 in 23 balls as the Lightning took 51 from the final five overs of the innings to kick their total to 185 for 5.

Lancashire got their defence of to a great start, claiming three wickets inside the Powerplay. James Faulkner got the crucial wicket of the Vitality Blast's top run-scorer Ian Bell in the second over, bowling him for two.

Aaron Thomason and Ed Pollock also departed inside the first five overs, bowled by Steven Croft and run out by Alex Davies respectively. That left the Bears 26 for 3 and struggling in pursuit of Lancashire's total.

Hope was given to them by a nice innings from Sam Hain. He raced to 34 from 22 balls with a lovely array of strokes and good running in partnership with Adam Hose.

But his dismissal triggered the beginning of the end for Birmingham as Parkinson all-but sealed the win for Lancashire with three wickets in four balls.

Hain was stumped by a smart bit of work by Dane Vilas and Colin de Grandhomme was bowled next ball. Parkinson had his hattrick attempt at the start of the next over and was denied one as his lbw appeal against Grant Elliot was turned down.

But the New Zealand international was stumped with the next delivery as Birmingham slipped to 75-6 in the 12th over, still needing another 111 to win.

They never looked likely to get there, despite Adam Hose's 45 from 39, ultimately being bowled out for 149.

Lancashire face a trip to Durham then face Birmingham again at Edgbaston, before which the Bears take on Worcestershire.