Lancashire beat Foxes as Luke Wood and Saqib Mahmood share six

The Leicestershire top order was rocked by Luke Wood

With a convincing eight-wicket victory against Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford, Lancashire’s star-studded lineup gave Liam Livingstone the ideal start to his tenure as Lightning’s Vitality Blast captain.

After the visitors decided to bat, a team with seven international players blitzed the Foxes early on owing to Luke Wood’s pace in the powerplay, reducing them to a pitiful 99 all out in just 19 overs.

In this noon match, England white-ball teammate Luke Wood set the tone by taking two wickets in the third over; Livingstone opted not to bat or bowl. Sol Budinger and Nick Welch, the game’s first two players, were caught tugging as the score fell to 17 for 2.

The chase was finished in 12 overs thanks to Steven Croft’s unbeaten 46 off 34 balls, leaving left-armer Wood with 3 for 11 from four overs and another England quick Saqib Mahmood with 3 for 17 from 3.5.

Lancashire began their quest for what may be a record-breaking tenth Finals Day appearance by winning two of their first two games at the start of the North Group. Hampshire had previously qualified for nine Finals Day appearances.

Nine out of Leicestershire’s ten wickets in their opening match of the campaign fell to catches, indicating that Wood’s ferocious new-ball session appeared to confuse the hitters. The only score above 20 was a 25 by Wiaan Mulder.

After the fourth over, when Colin de Grandhomme’s slower-paced seam was introduced, Arron Lilley chipped to midwicket and Colin Ackermann was dismissed for a duck after aiming a massive heave at a slower ball, leaving Leicestershire at 35 for 4 after seven overs.

As Leicestershire continued to struggle and reached 74 for 7 in the 14th over, wickets kept falling, three in four overs. In the 11th over, Rishi Patel attempted to break the chains but miscued to Wood at long-on, setting up Matthew Parkinson’s strike with his third ball. Mahmood then caught Mulder at deep midwicket pulling with his subsequent delivery.

In the 14th over, Wood made a second appearance to dismiss England all-rounder Rehan Ahmed, who was caught behind while attempting to uppercut a short ball, for six runs.

The Parkinson twins, Matthew and Callum, engaged in combat as a result, with the latter trying to save what already appeared to be a hopeless cause. In order to beat his brother, Callum picked up a few singles on the route to nine. But against Lancashire’s other New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell, he was bowled behind off a top edge.

Parkinson became the fourth batter out while attempting to pull as the Foxes dropped to 94 for 8 in the 18th over.

After that, Mahmood finished off the innings, which was the fifth-lowest score in Blast history for Leicestershire, by taking two more wickets in the 19th over, including debutant Pakistani fast bowler Naseem Shah and Will Davis.

When Luke Wells fell caught on the pull, following a number of other visiting hitters, South African Mulder, who had taken the new ball for the Foxes, struck in the second over, leaving Lancashire at 8 for 1.

The second wicket was shared by Croft and Phil Salt after they each scored 60 runs in six overs. At 68 for 2 in the seventh, Salt was beautifully caught at backward point by a diving Patel off Ahmed’s leg spin for 28 but it was only a consoling wicket.

Later, Mitchell struck a six off Davis over backward square-leg to complete the victory and reach 25 not out.

Because of the depth of the Red Rose County team, skipper Livingstone’s role upon his return from IPL service was restricted to serving as captain. And Jos Buttler, England’s limited-overs captain, will be added to the lineup in time for the Roses match at Headingley next Thursday.