holders worcestershire rapids suffered their first defeat of the campaign in the vitality blast when they went down by 21 runs under the duckworth-lewis method to lancashire lightning at emirates old trafford despite another stunning catch by ed barnard.
barnard surpassed even his boundary catch against notts outlaws last thursday to dismiss lancashire opener liam livingstone after he pulled at a delivery from wayne parnell.
the all-rounder ran full pelt from deep mid-wicket to the deep square leg region and dived full length to hold onto a magnificent one-handed effort.
livingstone could hardly believe it as he departed for 21 and barnard received warm congratulations from his team-mates and applause from the large crowd.
it was one of the few highlights for the rapids as the home side reached 71-1 off nine overs in pursuit of a 131 target when the heavens opened to end the contest.
the rapids appeared to be a little ring-rusty after having a specsavers county championship match at cheltenham sandwiched in between what has been a start-stop-start programme at the start of their blast campaign while all the other counties have been able to focus fully on t20.
they will now look to bounce back in quickfire fashion when they host durham at New Road on sunday (2.30pm start).
the coaches and squad were joined on the outfield during pre-match practice by andrew mcdonald, the newly appointed head coach of birmingham phoenix in the hundred.
he spent a week with birmingham bears and is undertaking a similar period with the rapids.
rapids skipper brett d’oliveira opted to bat on a hybrid wicket in what was a repeat of last season’s semi-final at edgbaston but, with the exception of opener martin guptill and a late flurry from parnell, struggled to obtain any fluency.
the bowlers who took the pace off the ball enjoyed the most success and five wickets fell to the leg spin of liam livingstone an matt parkinson.
the rapids made one change from the side which defeated notts outlaws at trent bridge with daryl mitchell making his 150th t20 appearance – 14 years after his debut in the competition – in place of england’s moeen ali.
guptill crashed two boundaries through extra cover off the first over from saqib mahmood.
fellow opener riki wessels (3) was the first wicket to fall in the third over when he lofted james faulkner into the hands of glenn maxwell at mid on.
callum ferguson collected his first boundary when he backed away to smash mahmood over cover and in the same over guptill slashed a delivery over third man for six.
ferguson drilled gleeson between backward and cover point to the ropes but, after making 12 off 10 balls, he was lbw to a ball of full length from gleeson at 34-2 in the fifth over.
the total stood at 42-2 at the end of the all seam bowling six over powerplay
parkinson and maxwell then came into the attack and the 50 came up in the eighth over.
d’oliveira joined guptill swept parkinson in between the two fielders on the leg side for his first boundary as the rapids reached 66-2 at the 10 over half-way stage.
but d’oliveira (13) fell to the first ball of livingstone’s spell as he picked out steven croft at deep backward square.
guptill – having made 37 off 32 balls – tried to clear the long off boundary off livingstone but only found the hands of james faulkner just inside the ropes.
ross whiteley (3) lost his off stump to a delivery right in the block hole from gleeson.
ben cox steadily accumulated 18 but when he went for a big hit against livingstone he top edged a catch to parkinson at short fine leg.
parnell brought up the 100 from his first delivery as he lofted livingstone (4-0-21-3) over long on for six in the 17th over.
barnard (16) perished on the deep mid wicket boundary to alex davies off parkinson and, in the same over, mitchell (0) went back to cut and was bowled.
parnell hit the spinner over long on for another six to give the innings some late momentum.
the all-rounder smashed back a faulkner delivery and hit dillon pennington on the helmet when he was backing up.
the paceman was checked over by head of sports science and medicine, ben davies, before it was decided he could continue.
parnell made 19 off nine balls before he departed to a catch on the mid-wicket boundary by croft from faulkner in the final over.
livingstone gave lancashire a flying start and twice stepped inside the line and scooped parnell over keeper cox’s head for six.
but in the same over – after making 21 off 14 balls – he fell victim to that magnificent catch by barnard
there was the rare occasion of a maiden over in t20 cricket – the eighth, bowled by mitchell to croft.
but when the players went off, lancashire were comfortably ahead of the rate via the dls method.