The Lightning - trounced by Warwickshire in their Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy semi-final on Saturday - this time suffered totesport League woe, thanks to a competition-best unbeaten fifth-wicket stand from Sarwan and Hardinges.
Lancashire at least escaped the rain - and they must have rated their chances, too, after their Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds had hit 10 fours and two sixes in an innings of 129 off only 107 balls to share a 160-run fourth-wicket stand with his captain, Mark Chilton, who made 59. But with the Gloucestershire seamer James Averis taking 4 for 40, the hosts' 267 for 7 was a just a few runs short.
Sarwan (118 not out) and Hardinges (111no) rescued the Gladiators from 47 for 4 after James Anderson had struck with three early wickets.
Essex's hopes of extending their advantage at the top of the First Division were compromised by a rained-off no-result at Chelmsford. The Eagles were unable to manage any meaningful cricket between the downpours. But after hanging on to start a 19-overs-a-side match at home to second-bottom Nottinghamshire - which was then rained off for good when they reached 53 for 2 after batting first - they and their opponents were rewarded with two points each. Ronnie Irani's team are now 10 points clear of the chasing pack and still highly unlikely to be caught for the title.
All the reigning domestic Twenty20 champions from around the world will play in a three-day, six-team tournament at Grace Road, Leicester, on 15-17 September. Leicestershire Foxes, who won the English Twenty20 Cup in 2004, will host the event. The other teams will be the current Twenty20 champions Somerset Sabres, South Africa's Nashua Titans, Sri Lanka's Chilaw Marians and Pakistan's Faisalabad Wolves. The final team will be a Professional Cricket Association Masters XI.
The England coach, Duncan Fletcher has been overlooked for the job of coaching the International Cricket Council World XI Test and one-day teams to face Australia in the Johnnie Walker Super Series in October. The former India coach John Wright has been offered the job.
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