Worcestershire Rapids went down by seven wickets to Lancashire Lightning in a Sky Sports televised NatWest T20 Blast match at Emirates Old Trafford dominated by the slower bowlers.
The Rapids were stifled by spin in totalling 127-8 after being put into bat on a pitch used for a Women’s Super League game earlier in the day.
Lancashire’s quartet of spinners returned 4-66 from 13 overs combined, with in-form leggie Matt Parkinson the pick of them with 1-14 from four.
Only captain and opener Joe Leach, who fell to a brilliant one-handed diving catch by keeper Jos Buttler off Ryan McLaren, and Brett D’Oliveira made 20 or more for the Rapids.
Leach struck 24 off 17 balls and D’Oliveira 30 off 33 deliveries although there was a useful late cameo of 13 off seven balls from Ed Barnard.
It was a similar story in the Lightning innings with Mitchell Santner conceding only 16 runs in four overs and fellow spinner Brett D’Oliveira also bowling tightly.
But Buttler and Liam Livingstone shared a third-wicket stand of 76 in 11 overs to see Lancashire home with 15 balls to spare.
Livingstone hit 36 off 37 balls without a boundary, while Buttler finished unbeaten on 52 off 40 with four fours and two sixes.
Joe Clarke (1) was undone by a ball from Junaid Khan which stuck in the pitch and was caught at backward point.
Leach did strike 4-6-4 off McLaren but fell in the same over to Buttler’s superb catch.
After the powerplay, spin dominated proceedings and Santner (8) holed out to deep mid wicket off Parry and Daryl Mitchell (16) was bowled by a superb Parkinson delivery which drifted in from outside of leg stump and hit the off at 50-4 in the eighth over.
Keeper Ben Cox (19) and D’Oliveira put on 52 which spanned nine overs before the former was caught at long on from the returning Khan.
D’Oliveira sliced Arron Lilley straight to point, Ross Whiteley (5) was run out by a direct hit at the non striker’s end and Alex Hepburn (6) was caught at long on in the final over of the innings from Lilley.
Josh Tongue got rid of Jordan Clark (4) courtesy of fine tumbling catch at short fine-leg by Pat Brown four balls into the Lightning chase.
Lilley hit three fours in a row off Tongue at the start of the fifth over to take his side to 34 for one and ahead on Duckworth Lewis Stern with rain threatening the Manchester area.
He was trapped lbw by leg-spinner D’Oliveira for 24 as the score fell to 47 for two in the seventh.
Livingstone and Buttler took the score to 68 -2 after 10, and when the latter hit Alex Hepburn’s medium pacers for six over long-on to take the score to 90 for two in the 14th, it was the first boundary in almost eight overs.
The half-century stand came up off 45 balls in the next over before, with net run-rate in mind, the last 30 runs came in double quick time for the loss of only Livingstone who was taken at mid on off Leach.