Lancashire 155 for 8 (Vincent 56, Ealham 3-21) beat Nottinghamshire 132 by 23 runs
Lancashire were perhaps fortunate to complete to a comfortable 23-run victory over Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford and secure their quarter-final spot. With the prominent exception of Lou Vincent, they misfired with the bat, but in response the visitors were even less capable, and were never really in a position to challenge a rather disappointing total.
Vincent started like a house on fire, but his colleagues proved to be more in the nature of damp squibs. They would indeed have been a sorry sight without the New Zealander, who has gone virtually from hell to heaven in the last week. He began as if he had a personal vendetta against Charlie Shreck - which is quite possible considering some of the bowler's past behaviour in matches against his team - twice moving across his stumps in the first over to glance audaciously to the fine-leg boundary, and then hitting him for a straight six and a four to midwicket in the following over. Shreck went for 26 in two overs, and after that, as far as further action at the bowling crease was concerned, it was "Goodnight, Charlie."
Andre Adams was the next to travel, with two classic fours through extra cover, and after five overs Lancashire were 54 for one, Mal Loye out bowled by Darren Pattinson for 8. Vincent raced to his fifty off 25 balls, overshadowing a series of fleeting partners at the other end, though Faf du Plessis did contribute 19. Later, Gareth Cross also made 19; nobody else could scrape into double figures. Andrew Flintoff scored 9, including a six, off seven balls, but fell when driving away from his body and lofting a catch to backward point.
So Lancashire's innings, which had promised a great deal, fizzled out at 155 for 8. Credit must go to some good Nottinghamshire bowling, with Mark Ealham especially doing a fine job with 3 for 21, and two wickets each for Pattinson and Samit Patel. On the other hand, several difficult chances were missed in the field.
Flintoff opened the bowling for Lancashire and worked up quite a pace. Adam Voges slashed him twice to the third-man boundary before flashing a catch to the keeper. Thereafter the Nottinghamshire innings chugged along at quite a distance behind Lancashire's equivalent score for each over, thanks to the latter's good start.
The one man most likely to have changed that, Chris Cairns, hit two sixes in his 21 off 16 balls before falling victim to cricket's most unfair law: run out backing up when the bowler accidentally deflected Will Jefferson's straight drive on to the stumps his end. Jefferson batted soundly for a run-a-ball 35, but didn't get much of the strike, and the desperation grew as the score reached 100 after 14 overs, leaving a required rate of 9.3 an over. Trying to steal a bye, he was run out by the keeper.
And that was really the end of the road for the visitors. Neither Ealham or Adams looked remotely like coming off, and steady all-round bowling by Lancashire made sure the finish was not even close. Two wickets each fell to spinners du Plessis and Simon Marshall, while Flintoff apparently survived his four overs, bowling better than his 1 for 27 suggest, to fight another day.