cricket:image:1437805 [900x506]
cricket:image:1437805 [900x506] (Credit: Getty Images)

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Lancashire 182 for 8 (Bruce 50*, Waite 3-19) beat Worcestershire 181 for 4 (Cobb 74, Hose 45) by two wickets

Luke Wood hit the fifth ball of the last over for six to ensure that Lancashire Lightning defeated Worcestershire Rapids by two wickets in their tense Vitality Blast T20 match at Emirates Old Trafford.

Wood's blow over square-leg off Tom Taylor ensured the home side strengthened their hopes of a home quarter-final and enabled Lancashire to chase down the 182 runs they needed to prevent Rapids achieving their first T20 double over Lancashire.

However, defeat was hard on Josh Cobb, who made 74 in Worcestershire's 181 for four, and also on Matthew Waite, who took three for 19 in Lancashire's innings. But Tom Bruce's first T20 half-century for Lancashire - the New Zealander finished on 50 not out - kept his side in the hunt even as wickets were falling.

Worcestershire scored 40 runs in their Powerplay overs but lost two wickets in doing so, both to Saqib Mahmood. In the second over, Brett D'Oliveira was hustled for pace by Mahmood and could only shovel the ball behind him to wicketkeeper Matty Hurst.

And having lost their skipper for seven, the Rapids then suffered another blow in Mahmood's next over when Kashif Ali, having casually chipped the fast bowler over the square-leg boundary for six, tried to hit him down the ground next ball but only skied the shot to Steven Croft at mid-off and was caught for 16.

The next few overs were dominated by Cobb and Gareth Roderick, who cleared the rope three times in taking their side to 81 for two after ten overs and had put on 57 in 43 balls when Roderick was leg before to Chris Green for 26.

The savage hitting continued in the following seven overs as Cobb and Adam Hose put 78 for the fourth wicket, Cobb reaching his fifty off 40 balls before finally holing out at long-off when Croft clung on to a steepling catch off Green to dismiss the former Northamptonshire batter for 74, an innings that included eight fours and three sixes.

Hose had whacked two enormous straight sixes in the over in which Cobb was dismissed and he went to make an inventive 45 not out off 26 balls before Worcestershire's innings closed on 181 for four. Luke Wood was the meanest member of Lancashire's attack, conceding 24 runs off his four overs, but Mahmood and Hartley were the most obviously successful, each bowler taking a couple of wickets.

Lancashire lost three wickets in their Powerplay but scored an impressive 63 runs, with Keaton Jennings taking heavy toll of the Worcestershire debutant Harry Darley, who conceded 39 runs in his two overs.

Jennings was 40 not out when the first six overs ended and his runs offset the loss of Luke Wells, who was caught behind off Taylor for a single, Matty Hurst, who was caught by Ed Pollock off Matthew Waite, also for one, and George Lavelle, who was run out for 20 by a direct hit from the ex-Lancashire favourite, Rob Jones.

Three balls later, Hayden Walsh struck what seemed a vital blow for the Rapids when he bowled Jennings for 41 but Bruce and Steven Croft then put on 37 in five overs before Croft was well caught by D'Oliveira off Ethan Brookes for 16 when he blasted the ball to cover.

Shrewd accumulation by Bruce and Chris Green left Lancashire needing 53 off the final four overs and 39 off three only for Green to be caught at long-on off Brookes for 19. But Tom Hartley hit his first two balls from Brookes for six to leave 18 required off 12 balls. Waite then removed Hartley and Tom Aspinwall with successive deliveries, only for Wood to decide matters.