Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Lilley Says Lightning Confidence Is Sky High Ahead Of Rapids Clash

Lilley Says Lightning Confidence Is Sky High Ahead Of Rapids Clash

Arron Lilley, Lancashire’s off-spinning all-rounder, says the Lightning’s confidence is sky high as they bid for a third successive NatWest T20 Blast win when Worcestershire Rapids visit Emirates Old Trafford this evening.

The Lightning’s North Division campaign currently stands at three wins and two defeats, with back-to-back successes over Yorkshire and Derbyshire following back-to-back defeats to Durham and Derbyshire.

Last season’s finalists believe there is still room for improvement in their play, but they have their sights set firmly on a knockout place.

Tonight’s clash is the first of four Blast matches in nine days for the Lightning, with them also travelling to face Northants Steelbacks at Wantage Road tomorrow.

"A home quarter-final is what we want, but as long as we qualify for the quarter-finals, it's not a massive thing,” said Lilley, 24-years-old, who has enjoyed success with both the white and red ball recently.

“We back ourselves to play anywhere and beat anyone with the team we've got.

“We've got James Faulkner, the finisher. It's good to have people like that in your side.

“The way Stephen Parry's been bowling and the way Ashwell Prince and Liam Livingstone have been hitting the ball up front, you can't ask for much more.”

Lilley has taken three wickets in the last two T20 matches, including one for 13 from two overs in the comprehensive home win over Derbyshire last Friday.

He also claimed second-innings figures of four for 28 in the three-day LV= County Championship win over Leicestershire, which finished in Manchester on Tuesday evening and gave the squad an unexpected day off.

"It's good for the lads to have a rest and re-energise and be ready for Worcester, which will be quite a tough game. I think they're going alright, so we've got to keep our standards high,” he said.

“To get back-to-back wins Thursday and Friday will stand us in good stead.”

No wonder Lancashire are in high spirits. After claiming a last-ball win over Yorkshire at Headingley almost a fortnight ago, they then recovered from 50 for three in the eighth over against Derbyshire to post 201 for three.

Captain Steven Croft hit a career best 94 and James Faulkner 47 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 151 inside 13 overs.

"The lads batted really well on Friday because there was some good bowling from the opposition,” added Lilley.

“For Jim and Crofty to get a 150 partnership off 80 or 90 balls and to get us over 200, it was going to be tough for them to chase.”