Lancashire’s attack Blasts Sussex Sharks out of the water to reach T20 finals day
Lancashire Lightning reached Vitality Blast finals day for the eighth time after thrashing Sussex Sharks by 45 runs in a low-scoring game at Hove.
Sussex appeared to be favourites when 2015 champions Lancashire were restricted 140 for eight after being put in.
But their attack – particularly spinners Matt Parkinson, Tom Hartley and Liam Livingstone – did such an outstanding job that Sussex were dismissed for 95, their lowest total in the competition since 2011, in 17.2 overs.
Only Luke Wright offered much resistance but when he became Livingstone’s second victim in the 13th over – well caught by Steven Croft for 36 – their last five wickets subsided for just 18 runs in 19 balls.
Leg-spinner Parkinson took three of them in four balls in the 15th over and, between them, Lancs’ spinners finished with combined figures of eight for 50 from 9.2 overs.
Although Phil Salt hit the first ball of the reply for four, it was one of only four boundaries in the first half of Sussex’s innings.
Salt fell to Saqib Mahmood’s first delivery and neither Delray Rawlins (6), Ravi Bopara (9) or David Wiese, who hit the only six of the innings, couldn’t give Wright the support he needed. Even the normally free-scoring Sussex captain found it difficult to time the ball, but he hit four of only seven boundaries in the innings from 35 balls faced.
Lancashire has been restricted to 140 for eight after being put in but the runs scored by Croft (41) and skipper Dane Vilas (40) were to prove crucial. Wright employed six bowlers in the first nine overs on a hybrid pitch offered little pace and it was only when Croft and Vilas added 43 in 5.2 overs for the fourth wicket that Lancashire were able to find any momentum.
Sussex restricted them to 34 from the power-play while also removing Livingstone, who hit Ollie Robinson for two sixes before succumbing to Robinson’s yorker, and Keaton Jennings (5), who drove George Garton’s slower ball to mid-on.
Alex Davies was unusually subdued, making 16 off 19 balls before falling in the 10th over to an excellent diving catch by Wiese.
Croft hit three sixes in six balls off Delray Rawlins and Robinson, only to succumb looking to hit Garton over deep square in the 15th over and, after a heavy shower had forced the players off for 30 minutes, Lancashire lost two wickets in the first over following the resumption to Tymal Mills, while Vilas was deceived by Garton’s slower ball in the final over, having made 40 off 28 balls.