Lancashire 161 for 5 (Croft 51, Brown 51) beat Durham 135 for 9 (Plunkett 41) by 26 runs
Lancashire revived their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 with a convincing 26-run win against Durham at Old Trafford.
Batting first, Lancashire made 161 for 5 , with stand-in captain Steven Croft and Karl Brown each scoring 51 off 36 balls, and the home side then restricted Durham to 135 for 9 in reply. The victory saw Lancashire move to within a point of fourth-placed Durham in the North Group and gain some revenge for their trouncing at Chester-le-Street a week ago.
Durham's bid to overhaul Lancashire's total got off to a poor start as they lost both Phil Mustard and Ian Blackwell inside three overs with just 22 on the board. Junaid Khan then bowled Paul Collingwood round his legs for 3 and the visitors' fortunes declined further as Stephen Parry and Gary Keedy took two wickets apiece to leave Durham floundering on 68 for seven in the 12th over.
Scott Borthwick and Liam Plunkett mounted a revival with a 46-run eighth-wicket stand, and Lancashire were starting to count the cost of long-on Tom Smith dropping Borthwick off Parry when the left-hander had made 20.
Durham needed 50 runs off the final three overs, but Khan ran out Borthwick for 30 and, despite Plunkett clubbing Mahmood for two sixes in the 19th over, the visitors finished short. Plunkett was run out for 41 off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Keedy finished with an impressive 2 for 17 and Parry 2 for 27, but it was Khan who was the pick of the attack as he took 2 for 20 on his Old Trafford debut.
Lancashire's innings had got off to a poor start when opener Stephen Moore played on to Mitchell Claydon for 7. However, Tom Smith and Croft staged a recovery with a careful second-wicket partnership of 37 in 31 balls before Smith was caught by his namesake Will Smith at long-on off Gareth Breese for 22.
Lancashire then moved up through the gears as Brown and Croft shared a thrilling 78-run partnership in 8.2 overs. Durham's bowling and fielding became ragged and Brown and Croft capitalised on any errors, both batsmen hitting two sixes.
Croft eventually perished when he miscued Collingwood to Breese at cover, but Brown, who had benefited from a missed stumping by Mustard when on seven, carried on to complete a maiden Twenty20 half-century before he was run out.
Sajid Mahmood and Farveez Maharoof took 14 runs off the last over bowled by Claydon to help Lancashire set what would prove to be a winning total.