Lancashire claim Vitality T20 Blast victory over Worcestershire in a rain-affected match

Lancashire Lightning batsmen Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone    Picture: Getty Images
Lancashire Lightning batsmen Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone Picture: Getty Images

An expert bowling display from Liam Livingstone led unbeaten Lancashire to a 21-run win on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern over Vitality Blast champions Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford.

Livingstone returned 3-21 from four overs of leg-spin with the Rapids restricted to 130-9, having elected to bat in a repeat of last year’s semi-final.

Livingstone’s wickets included visiting captain Brett D’Oliveira with his first ball and New Zealand opener Martin Guptill for 37.

He then scooped Wayne Parnell for two sixes in a 14-ball 21 as the Lightning, celebrating Jos Buttler’s three-year contract extension, got off to a flyer at 38-1 after four overs in pursuit.

Rain later halted proceedings at 71-1 after nine overs, including Alex Davies’ unbeaten 29.

Livingstone, who wowed the crowd with his sixes, was then given a taste of his own medicine as he departed courtesy of a stunning one-handed catch at backward square-leg from Ed Barnard later in the fourth over.

Having viciously connected with a pull, he saw Barnard sprint to his right approximately 15 yards in from the rope and grab the ball in his right hand, diving full length.

Unfortunately for Worcester, it was their only moment to savour as Lancashire won their third successive match.

Richard Gleeson removed Callum Ferguson (LBW) and Ross Whiteley (bowled) with searing yorkers as the visitors fell to 84-5 after 14 overs.

Livingstone had D’Oliveira caught at deep backward square-leg, having only returned from an intercostal injury in last night’s Roses win.

He later had Guptill caught at long-off for an innings-high score and Ben Cox caught at short fine-leg.

Leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson benefited from Worcester’s pursuit of quick runs and claimed two wickets, while Australian overseas left-arm seamer James Faulkner matched him.

Faulkner (2-21) took his wickets at either end of the innings and was particularly effective with his variations.

Although Livingstone departed in the Lancashire reply, there was no way back for the Rapids.

Opening partner Davies hit four fours in his 24-ball effort and was being well supported by Steven Croft’s unbeaten 13 when rain arrived just after 8.30pm with the hosts in control.