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Lancashire 254 for 8 beat Unicorns 253 for 7 by two wickets
Lancashire survived a major scare to secure a thrilling last-ball Clydesdale Bank 40 win over the Unicorns at Colwyn Bay on Monday. Surviving a five-wicket haul from medium pacer Neil Hancock, the Lightning had to score 13 runs off the last over in their pursuit of 254. Kyle Hogg hit 12 of them, including a straight six off the bowling of Jonathan Miles, to finish 35 not out off 26 balls as Lancashire won by two wickets.
The Red Rose county had looked to be cantering to their target after openers Karl Brown and Paul Horton shared 115 inside 21 overs. But 34 year-old Hancock, formerly of Somerset, returned career-best figures of 5 for 64 from eight overs to put a fifth Group A win in major doubt. Lancashire needed 93 off 10 overs and it took a 43-ball 51 from Steven Croft to get them back on track even though they kept losing wickets.
Innings of 84 not out off 69 balls and 64 off 70 from Keith Parsons and wicketkeeper Josh Knappett respectively had earlier fired the hosts to a competitive 253 for 7. Luke Procter finished with 3 for 29 from his six overs of medium pace and Hogg returned an impressive 2 for 27 from eight. The Unicorns had recovered from 31 for 2 but they would surely have posted too many for Lancashire to chase had they not lost four wickets in the last nine overs of their innings.
Veteran skipper Parsons and Knappett took a liking to Stephen Parry and Gary Montgomery during a fourth wicket stand of 120 in 16 overs. Knappett swept Parry for two sixes into the pavilion while Parsons smeared Montgomery for a six over midwicket and also pulled Parry over the square leg boundary.
Procter bowled Michael O'Shea and Neil Saker and also had Hancock caught at deep midwicket. The young allrounder had also taken a superb diving catch on the run from deep square leg to give Daren Powell the early wicket of Jackson Thompson.
Brown then hit 64 off 70 balls and Horton 63 off 71 to put the visitors on top, hitting three sixes between them. But Australian-born Hancock bowled Brown off an inside edge, had Mark Chilton chipping to deep midwicket, bamboozled Gareth Cross with a slower ball, bowled Croft and had Procter caught at long on.
Croft hit three sixes - two in successive balls before he was bowled - and four fours in his effort to keep Lancashire in the hunt. Parry was bowled by Miles and then Powell run out before Hogg, who only hit one other boundary, and Keedy were there at the end to prevent a shock.
Clydesdale Bank 40