Dravid and McCague make Lancashire suffer

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rahul Dravid steered a depleted Kent side to a crucial National League victory here under the lights, with 13 balls to spare. It may not save them from relegation but it did leave Lancashire firmly on the bottom of the First Division - and that creaking in the ceiling is the sound of the roof falling in on the palace of the one-day kings.

Rahul Dravid steered a depleted Kent side to a crucial National League victory here under the lights, with 13 balls to spare. It may not save them from relegation but it did leave Lancashire firmly on the bottom of the First Division - and that creaking in the ceiling is the sound of the roof falling in on the palace of the one-day kings.

Rain threatened a wash-out, reducing the contest to 21 overs each. Dravid should have been caught, at cover, on 10 off Peter Martin. His wristy late-cut off Glen Chapple made the match memorable, his 50 came off only 38 balls. The whole innings glittered with class and was worthy of a more splendid, if less colourful and quieter, occasion.

Just before 7.30pm Andrew Flintoff, to a volley of fireworks, and Sourav Ganguly began the Lancashire innings. With typical explosive power, the burly Englishman drove and cut two fours and lifted a third that was close to a six.

By the third over 23 hard-hit runs had been posted but then hesitation over whether to run for a bye saw Flintoff run out by Matthew Walker's throw. The crowd groaned and felt, clearly, that Ganguly should have made the sacrifice.

Nevertheless Ganguly, he of the blue boots, then took over, and if his 50 off 48 balls was less spectacular than a Flintoff barrage it was beautifully timed and included two serene sixes. His support was patchy, the captain John Crawley making a worthy 32 but probably batting too high in the order.

What Lancashire lacked was some bustlers and nurdlers, with the two most capable, Neil Fairbrother and Warren Hegg, not lasting long. The last seven overs brought 35 runs for the loss of five wickets.

After both Matthews, Walker and Fleming, had fallen when forcing, Dravid brought a composure and authority to the innings that was interrupted when Alan Wells, aiming to lift Joe Scuderi, scooped to midwicket. Martin McCague helped Dravid take 20 off the 17th over, hitting the blows that finished Lancashire.

In the last fortnight Lancashire have been humiliated by Yorkshire and embarrassed by Gloucestershire, and if this defeat was less extreme it may mean more in the end if Lancashire are in the Second Division next season, as seems almost certain.

Comments