Worcestershire 164 for 8 (Mitchell 53) beat Lancashire 163 for 5 (Brown 42) by two wickets
Worcestershire won a final-over thriller against Lancashire at Old Trafford by two wickets to claim a fourth NatWest T20 Blast win from six matches, with Ben Cox the match-winner. Lancashire failed to defend 164 with a ball to spare in a clash which saw both teams struggle at times with the bat and only one half-century scored by visitors' captain Daryl Mitchell - 53 off 40 balls.
Lancashire looked favourites to win after making 163 for 5, with Worcester needing 44 off 26 balls when they slipped to 120 for 5 on the back of offspinner Arron Lilley's impressive 1 for 19.
But Cox hit Saqib Mahmood for a six and four late in the 17th over to change things. Two wickets fell in the last over, brilliantly bowled by James Faulkner, as seven off six balls became six off two, only for the wicketkeeper to smash the Australian over wide long-on for six. He and Brett D'Oliveira, 22 off 14, shared a crucial 37 in 3.2 overs for the sixth wicket. Cox made 22 not out off 13.
Despite the early loss of Liam Livingstone to Joe Leach, Lancashire got off to a flyer as second-wicket pair Ashwell Prince and Karl Brown, who top-scored with 42 off 24 balls, shared 71 in 7.1 overs. The hosts reached 50 after 4.4 overs having taken 39 off the third and fourth overs from Jack Shantry and Leach.
But after Brown's dismissal, slog-sweeping Saeed Ajmal to deep mid-wicket - 73 for two after 8.3 overs - the hosts' innings stalled in the face of spin from Ajmal, Moeen Ali and D'Oliveira. They failed to score a boundary for seven overs from the start of the eighth to the start of the 15th as Prince also fell top-edging a sweep off Moeen. Steven Croft and Faulkner added 49 in 6.3 overs to give this innings impetus before falling late on to Ajmal and Shantry.
Mitchell hit three boundaries off Faulkner in the sixth over as the visitors, who lost Moeen caught at midwicket off Jordan Clark, moved to 52 for 1 in reply. Lilley trapped Tom Kohler-Cadmore lbw sweeping with his second ball, leaving the score at 63 for 2 in the eighth, before Worcestershire also struggled through the middle overs.
Lancashire cut off the twos and prevented a boundary between midway through the seventh over and five balls into the 13th. Fifteen came off the 13th from Clark, taking the score to 96 for 2, before Mitchell brought up a 32-ball fifty in the next, only to see Colin Munro run out going for two to deep cover.
When Mahmood trapped Mitchell lbw with the first ball of the 15th, Worcestershire had lost two in two balls and were 108 for 4. Croft took a fine running catch at long-off to help Tom Bailey get rid of Ross Whiteley in the next as the target became 44 off 26 balls, but the visitors prevailed in a helter-skelter finish which saw D'Oliveira, Leach and Ed Barnard fall in the last seven balls.