Jos Buttler’s 50 helps Lancashire in breaking a four-game losing streak

Important half-century from Jos Buttler

As Lancashire Lightning implemented 178 to defeat North Group leaders Worcestershire Rapids by four wickets with three balls remaining at Blackpool, England limited overs captain Jos Buttler’s 58 from 42 balls helped them break a four-game Vitality Blast losing streak.

Opening batsman Jos Buttler blasted five fours and three sixes to score his second fifty in 14 T20 innings, dating back to April when he was competing in the IPL.

But this was not a simple run chase, and it was put in doubt when Buttler and hometown favorite Steven Croft were run out for 40 runs in the space of three balls in the 15th over, bringing the score to 114 for 4.

The Lightning, though, were brought home by New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell, a league player at Stanley Park in 2016, who scored an important 33 not out off 14 balls to secure a fourth victory from eight games. From two seam overs earlier, he had taken three for nine.

Adam Hose and Mitchell Santner of New Zealand combined for 42 off of 29 balls for Worcestershire, who lost for the second time in six games. Worcestershire had reached 177 for 9. No other hitter for Worcestershire reached 20, so the innings of Hose and Santner stood out like a sore thumb in a shaky batting display.

After Brett D’Oliveira and Michael Bracewell, the openers, were caught at mid-on and mid-off by Colin de Grandhomme’s seamers, the team advanced from 65 for 3 in the ninth over by sharing 59 runs in six overs for the fourth wicket.

This two-paced pitch inning was strange in a lot of ways. Santner gave Mitchell and Rob Jones two fairly simple catches on seven and ten, giving him the opportunity to capture the majority of 28 off fellow citizen de Grandhomme in the 18th over. Three of those were sixes, one of which was a no-ball above the waist.

Mitchell withdrew Kashif Ali, Ben Cox, and Ed Pollock right after that over since the score had dropped to 173 for 7 in the 19th, and Cox and Pollock had both been caught by Croft. The first was a breathtaking drop that occurred mid-off and away to his left. Mitchell only bowled two overs, though.

In that blitz against de Grandhomme, Santner hit fifty off thirty balls while also guaranteeing that his colleague all-rounder would not be remembered for Lancashire’s most costly session, which included two for 57 from four overs.

As Lancashire began their chase, Buttler pulled Adam Finch over wide mid-on for four. The next ball, in the fourth over, he lifted Pat Brown for six over fine-leg and then pushed him over midwicket for four.

After a run of five ducks in 13 T20 innings prior to this, the superstar opener’s score of 19 and the Lightning’s score of 30 without loss after four overs already gave off the impression that he was in some way returning to form. And that is how it actually happened.

The score dropped to 38 for two at the conclusion of the fifth over when Buttler’s opening partner Phil Salt chipped Dillon Pennington to mid-on and Luke Wells dropped Finch high to square-leg in the subsequent over.

Buttler and Croft struggled to maintain their momentum for the following few overs as the score reached 59 for two after 10 overs, leaving the hosts needing 119 more runs.

On his way to 50 from 37 balls, Buttler then struck back-to-back sixes off Pat Brown in the following over.

The following four overs witnessed 54 runs before an interruption. With 64 runs still needed, Buttler edged Pennington behind and Croft was run out after a mix-up with captain Liam Livingstone, bringing the score to 114 for 4 in the 15th over.

The target was then raised to 31 runs off three overs at 147 for 4 when Mitchell struck a straight six off the left-arm spin of Santner.

However, Livingstone (23), a four-time England seamer, hammered Brown to mid-off before having Tom Hartley beautifully caught and bowled on the following delivery. When Lancashire was 157 for 6, they needed 21 off 14 balls.

However, in the final over, Mitchell lowered that target to four by driving a straight boundary up the middle.