Tom Hartley applies the long handle as Lancashire leap into home quarter-final

Olly Stone impresses with four wickets but table-topping Bears are edged out in thriller

Lancashire 169 for 8 (Vilas 42, Stone 4-21) beat Birmingham Bears 168 for 8 (Hose 50, Mousley 41, Gleeson 2-23) by two wickets

Left-arm spinner Tom Hartley hit two sixes as Lancashire secured a home quarter-final in the Vitality Blast with a dramatic two-wicket victory over Birmingham Bears at Emirates Old Trafford.

Needing 13 off the final over, Hartley’s second six had given his side a sniff of victory and but the win was only confirmed when Richard Gleeson edged a front-foot no-ball from Henry Brookes to the boundary to settle matters with three balls to spare. Hartley finished unbeaten on 18 but the result was hard on the Bears’ Olly Stone who took a career-best four for 21.

The result means that Lancashire will entertain Essex on Friday whereas the Bears, who finished top of the North Group, will take on Hampshire at Edgbaston on Thursday.

In the first innings of the game Birmingham scored only a modest 39 runs in their Powerplay and lost three wickets in doing so. The first of these was that of the former Lancashire favourite, Alex Davies, who was caught at slip by Keaton Jennings off Richard Gleeson for five, but the real damage was done in Hartley’s first over, the fifth of the innings.

Having made nine, Sam Hain miscued Hartley’s second ball to Dane Vilas at mid-off and then Paul Stirling, who made 12, sliced the left-arm spinner’s fifth delivery to Gleeson at third man. Chris Benjamin and Adam Hose rebuilt the innings, Benjamin taking 10 runs off two balls from Hartley, but Birmingham were only 73 for three at the midpoint of their 20-over allocation.

Benjamin and Hose put on 63 for the fourth wicket without breaking the shackles imposed on them by Vilas’s bowlers and Benjamin was bowled for 35 in the 13th over when he dragged a Luke Wells delivery onto his stumps. Matters improved for the Bears when Dan Mousley pulled Luke Wood for successive sixes and the left-hander had made 41 off 20 balls when he was bowled by Wells, who finished with two for 35 from his four overs.

Carlos Brathwaite was caught on the point boundary off Gleeson for six before both Hose and Brookes were run out by throws from Phil Salt in the final over of the innings. However, Hose’s 39-ball 50, which contained two sixes but no fours, had helped Birmingham post a defendable 168 for 8 in 20 overs. Gleeson ended with two for 23 and Hartley took two for 32.

Lancashire’s reply began moderately when they scored six more runs than their opponents had managed in their Powerplay but lost two wickets in doing so. Stone did the damage in the space of three balls, Jennings skying him to Danny Briggs at backward point and Steven Croft miscuing a drive to Brathwaite at mid-off and departing for a second-ball nought.

Any thoughts that Vilas and Salt had seized control of the match with a 67-run stand for the third wicket were dispelled when both were dismissed in successive overs. Vilas was leg before to Briggs for 42 and Salt was caught at long on off Stone for 33.

The vital wicket of Tim David fell to Jake Lintott, who had the Singaporean caught at long off by Benjamin for only 12 in the 14th over at the end of which Lancashire needed 60 off 36 balls. That seemed unlikely until Hartley got out the long handle.

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