sport

Duo steer Lancashire to win

Karl Brown and Steven Croft fired Lancashire to their second T20 Blast win of the season with a blistering unbeaten partnership of 131.

Derbyshire had the Red Rose reeling on 38 for three, but Brown and Croft then got to work and steered them to a final total of 169, which was enough to secure a 20-run victory as the hosts fell short on 149 for five.

Rain delayed the start of the match, which was reduced to 19 overs per side as a result. When the weather brightened up, the hosts won the toss and elected to bowl, with their attack wasting no time in dismissing Lancashire's openers.

First, Alex Davies fell for a second-ball duck after he was caught superbly by Tim Groenewald off Wes Durston, before Tom Smith's (six) attempted pull looped high off the bat to Chesney Hughes in the third over to leave them on 22 for two.

Tony Palladino dealt a blow to Lancashire by trapping skipper Paul Horton in front for seven as he claimed his first T20 wicket in four years.

But Brown (67 not out) and Croft (76 not out) steadied the ship and their partnership of 131 brought them back into contention.

Derbyshire were unable to shift either man as the Red Rose finished on 169 for three, meaning the hosts needed 170 runs for their first victory of the season in all formats.

Having notched that exact total in their defeat to Leicester last week, Derbyshire knew the win was attainable and they moved to 31 without loss after five overs.

But Hughes and Stephen Moore's opening partnership was brought to an end on 39 runs when Hughes (16) mistimed a pull off Kabir Ali to get caught by Horton at mid-on.

Lancashire made a first real breakthrough halfway through Derbyshire's innings, claiming the wickets of Moore (40), who was run out amid confusion, and Marcus North (26) who was caught behind off Tom Smith to leave the hosts on 88 for three.

By the time Durston was bowled for five by Kabir things were starting to look tough for Derbyshire, with them needing 57 runs off just under four overs.

Kabir (three for 27) claimed his third wicket to all but seal victory for Lancashire when Wayne Madsen (29) fell to make it 136 for five with eight balls remaining and, although Simon Elstone (24 not out) showed some defiance with a six in the closing stages, the result was a formality.