Lancashire demolish Durham to seal Blast quarter-final spot

Lancashire's Alex Davies
Lancashire's Alex Davies

The brilliant form of opener Alex Davies helped Lancashire to secure a Vitality Blast quarter-final place with a 65-run victory away to Durham.

After winning eight of their previous nine games to soar to the top of the north group, the Jets crashed to 4-4 in reply to Lancashire’s 143-6 and finally struggled to 78 all out in 15.2 overs. Their previous lowest 20-over total was 93 against Kent at Canterbury in a 2009 quarter-final.
Durham need to avoid defeat in their final group game at home to Derbyshire on Friday to be certain of a home tie in the quarter-finals. Lancashire, who finish at Edgbaston on Wednesday, are a point behind them.
They also made a troubled start after being put in under heavy skies following rain at Chester-le-Street. But they recovered from 6-2 through Davies’ sixth half-century from 12 innings.
His 64 from 62 balls contained six fours, but his bustling style kept the score ticking over while holding things together before he fell to the last ball of the innings.
Liam Trevaskis, who took three wickets when Lancashire needed only six runs off the final over at Old Trafford, was absent ill and Durham relied on seam until leg-spinner Ben Whitehad bowled two tidy overs late in the innings.
Only two came off Chris Rushworth’s opening over, then Karl Brown drove at Mark Wood’s second ball and lost his off stump.
Four balls later a wild heave across the line resulted in Aaron Lilley edging behind and only 14 came from the first four overs.
Davies and Dane Vilas cut loose with 27 off the next two only for captain Vilas to drive well wide of off-stump at Nathan Rimmington’s first ball and edge a second catch to Stuart Poynter.
The same combination accounted for Jordan Clark after a 20-minute rain break and at the halfway stage Lancashire were 63-4.
Steven Croft contributed 30 to a stand of 47 before skying Rimmington to short fine leg and the Australian finished with 4-28 when Davies fell in identical fashion to Vilas.
James Faulkner followed his unbeaten 18 by swinging one away to have Durham skipper Tom Latham caught behind third ball. Will Smith edged a drive two overs later and Graham Clark went the same way against Toby Lester.
Paul Collingwood drove Lester straight to short extra cover, but rather than go for the jugular Lancashire rested Faulkner with figures of 2-1-3-2 and Durham briefly got into the game with 24 off two overs from Danny Lamb.
But after the two wicketkeepers, Poynter and Ryan Davies, had put on 40 Matt Parkinson accepted a return catch off his first ball to remove Poynter.
Although Davies swept him for six on his way to the top score of 27, the leg-spinner finished with 3-19 and 19-year-old Afghan Zahir Khan wrapped it up with 2-8.