Hammond leads Gloucestershire into the semifinals with an unbeaten 109

Miles Hammond played an incredible innings of 109 runs

Miles Hammond scorched to a magnificent first List-A century as Gloucestershire defeated Lancashire by eight wickets at Bristol to advance to the Metro Bank One Day Cup semifinals.

Chasing a modest 178 for victory, the home team completed their goal with 25.1 overs to spare courtesy to a hard-hitting 109 not out from Hammond, who shared in a match-winning stand of 125 with Ollie Price in a one-sided play-off battle.

Hammond’s blistering 85-ball innings, which included six sixes and 11 fours, left Lancashire’s bowlers with no answers. Price also made a significant contribution, scoring 39 runs in 43 balls, to help Gloucestershire advance to a next-tuesday match against Leicestershire at the Grace Road.

Given that Hammond spent the majority of the previous month serving drinks for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred, his innings were all the more impressive. Despite being allowed to play two group games for Gloucestershire, he did not play a single game for them the entire season.

The bowlers for Gloucestershire had earlier enabled the team to win for the fifth time in a row in the 50-over competition by dismissing Lancashire for a woefully inadequate 177 in 44.3 overs. Four players—David Payne, Paul van Meekeren, Anwar Ali, and Price—took two wickets each.

On a day that Lancashire and their supporters will want to forget quickly, only Tom Aspinwall provided genuine resistance. The teenager top-scored with a career-best 47 and added 75 for the ninth wicket with Tom Bailey.

When Lancashire’s side collapsed to 90 for 7 in just 24 overs, Keaton Jennings’ decision to bat first at the Seat Unique Stadium prompted more than a few questions given the prediction for rain later in the day. The Lancashire captain must have been doubting his decision at that point.

There was no way to justify the careless way in which the visitors contributed to their own demise, with too many batters falling to poorly timed forcing shots when the situation called for caution, despite the slow nature of a pitch used 12 days earlier for Somerset’s visit offering some mitigation.

At least Jennings did not fit that description; instead, Lancashire’s batting talisman fell to a superb delivery from Payne, who, upon his return from serving with Welsh Fire in the Hundred, gave the Gloucestershire attack a much-needed cutting edge. 

Soon after, with the ball still shiny, George Bell cautiously edged a catch behind off Tom Price, then Dane Vilas top-edged a pull to midwicket and was bowled by van Meekeren.

Anwar Ali bowled George Lavelle with an inside edge before rain interrupted the match with Lancashire teetering on 84 for 5. Their fortunes are now highly dependent on opening batsman Luke Wells. Ollie Price then coaxed George Balderson into the front foot and grabbed a simple return catch.

However, Wells was unable to add to his 33 runs as he attempted to play Price to midwicket and was skillfully trapped by James Bracey in the first over after the restart.

The situation got worse when Matthew Hurst played back to van Meekeren and was out leg before wicket in his crease. At that moment, Lancashire’s recognized batsmen were back in the pavilion, and Aspinwall and Bailey had to clean up the mess. Being unable to take chances, these two chose to run hard between the wickets and find the gaps instead, a tactic that at least allowed them to stage a recovery of sorts.

In a rare instance of aggression, Aspinwall lifted Tom Price over midwicket for six after surpassing his previous top score of 22, bringing up the 50 partnership. However, Gloucestershire persisted, and their persistence was finally rewarded when Bailey pulled Anwar to midwicket and left for 29.

Aspinwall made 47 runs in 71 balls and led Bailey in a stand of 75 runs in 17.3 overs for the eighth wicket. However, Aspinwall was out in the next over after directing a van Meekeren ball to point and attempting a dangerous single, only to be run out by Ollie Price.

Lancashire’s innings was summed up by Jack Morley’s dismissal, with the last man giving Payne the meekest of return catches as Lancashire was bowled out with 5.3 overs remaining.

Lancashire needed to capture early wickets to defend a small total, and Bailey delivered when he dismissed Bracey for 12 in the fourth over with the score at 21. Any hopes of a valiant comeback, however, were swiftly dashed as Ollie Price, a new batter, and Hammond set about reaffirming Gloucestershire’s superiority in a direct stand that stole the game away from Lancashire.

When seam failed to produce a breakthrough, captain Jennings went to spin, only for Morley to be severely battered by Hammond, who smacked him for a straight six in the eleventh before plundering 16 off his following over. 

When Balderson was lifted over deep mid-wicket for six as the home team reached three figures inside of 15 overs, Hammond had already reached 50 in 45 balls after hitting his fifth four, a reverse sweep at the expense of Wells.

Despite playing second fiddle to Hammond, who showed every intention of finishing the job at hand before the anticipated early evening rain could arrive, Price scored at over a run per ball while being in excellent form. Gloucestershire were nearly safe when Price was caught at the wicket off Bell’s outbreaks.

Hammond achieved his hundred in 82 balls after surpassing his previous best of 95 against Sussex in 2019 and straight driving Aspinwall for his ninth four to excite the partisan Bristol crowd.