Lancashire hit by Pietersen's rapid assault

Lancashire 120 Nottinghamshire 124-3 Notts win by seven wickets
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The Independent Online

Lancashire, past masters of cricket's shortened game as was, found the new microcosmic version a little too brief. On their Twenty20 debut here last night, they were bowled out for 120 in 19.2 overs after Nottinghamshire had put them in, the lowest score in the competition so far. The home side, scoring their first win in their second match, eased home by seven wickets with five balls to spare.

For the majority in a crowd of around 6,000 on a glorious evening, it could not have gone better. A home win - and all over inside two hours and 25 minutes. Quick enough, surely, for spectators of even the most limited attention span to avoid falling asleep. Another mark chalked up to cricket's innovators.

As anyone already familiar with the game in its other forms knows, dropping off while Kevin Pietersen is at the crease always risks missing something spectacular. If biff-bang cricket is up anyone's street, it is his. The 6ft 4in South African-born all-rounder, still in the infancy of his career at 22, already has three double-hundreds to his name in "proper" cricket (the four-day game) and is his county's top run-getter in limited-overs. Even with time on his hands, he does not tend to hang about.

With such a modest target, however, Nottinghamshire could afford to begin patiently. Jason Gallian, a batsman more at home in the long haul, enjoyed the luxury of taking 11 balls to get off the mark. He lost Usman Afzaal's company in the seventh over with only 22 scored, but once Pietersen had found his range, there was little doubt about the outcome.

Any bowler whose line strayed from the straight was punished severely. Kyle Hogg conceded five boundaries to Pietersen in two overs while Chris Schofield watched the ball sail over his shoulder into the Radcliffe Road seats.

Pietersen's alliance with Gallian put on 65 in seven overs and the former had blasted 58 off only 37 balls, with nine fours and that six, when Peter Martin found a way through.

Man of the match, however, was Richard Logan, another 22-year-old learning his trade. Logan shared the new ball with Greg Smith, took two Lancashire wickets in his opening over, claimed another in his third and then two more when he returned at the death. His return of 4 for 26 was his best against a first-class county in any form of cricket.

Only Warren Hegg, the captain, put up a serious obstacle, improvising wisely to hit 45 off 35 balls. How Lancashire could have done with Andrew Flintoff.