Parkinson stars as Lancashire Lightning storm to T20 Final’s Day

Emirates Old Trafford, Flickr, Kev Walker

Lancashire recovered from a low scoring position to beat Sussex Sharks by 45 runs and book their place in Saturday’s Vitality Blast Finals Day line-up.

A batting innings largely disrupted by rain did not dampen Lancashire’s spirits on Thursday evening and seven wickets between Liam Livingstone and Matt Parkinson went a long way to bowling out the hosts in Hove for just 95 runs in 17.2 overs.

The game was low scoring and Lightning looked second favourites after they recorded 140 runs from 20 rain affected overs – Steven Croft top scoring with 41 runs.

Nonetheless, the bowling attack quickly turned the game on its head as a quick demise for Sussex saw nine of their batting line-up fall for just single figures.

In a wicket windfall, the hosts recorded a return of just 6-5 between the 12th and the 15th over leaving them on 79-9, though a somewhat small recovery to reach 95 came as the game was already way out of their grasp.

This seasons Vitality Blast saw a delay till ate August due to the coronavirus pandemic, and just over a month later we are ready to see its conclusion on Saturday.

The Eighteenth Final’s Day event – after the tournaments creation in 2003 – will be the first without a buoyant carnival crowd at Edgbaston with the day being held behind-closed-doors.

Notts Outlaws, Gloucestershire, and Surrey all won their quarter-final ties to join Lancashire in this year’s line-up.

Saturday’s opponents Notts Outlaws last won the competition in 2017.

Lightning are no strangers to this stage of the competition, though they have suffered mixed fortunes upon progression.

This year marks the eighth time the Red Rose have gone into the showpiece event – the first time was back in 2004.

However, it took five times of asking to advance past the semi-final stage and their first final in 2014 ended in a four-run defeat to Birmingham Bears.

Lancashire recovered to go one better in 2015 beating Northants in the final and that remains their sole victory in the twenty20 format.

Bowler Matt Parkinson took three wickets in Thursday’s victory and he can now look ahead to his second Finals Day.

Matt Parkinson recorded impressive figures of 3/9 as with three wickets in four balls.

Speaking to the Lancashire Cricket website, Parkinson reflected on victory in tough conditions. “I wasn’t actually too happy after the first-half. I think both teams misread the pitch”, said Parkinson.

The 23-year-old went on to add: “When we are at our best is in these situations when we do have to fight and I think you’ve seen that in the past few years when we look down and out that’s probably when we do play our best.

The lads now prepare for Saturday’s task but with rain due once more, Sunday’s reserve day being used looks a likely prospect.