A chilly evening more in keeping with late October than early July left Derbyshire's finance committee looking glum but no one more than Lancashire appreciated the efforts of their ground staff to ensure this match took place after 15 hours of continuous rain.
A victory accomplished with 17 balls to spare was Lancashire's first in any competition since 29 May, ending a dreadful run of 10 matches in which a season that began with expectation has turned into one of seemingly unremitting woe.
Injuries, on top of international call-ups, have been a major factor, so it was with a touch of irony that they owed last night's success largely to a participant who played only because Lancashire were obliged to select him ahead of a fit Carl Hooper. Dinesh Mongia, the Indian all-rounder hired as a stop-gap replacement when Hooper broke his thumb last month, could be registered as a temporary overseas player only if Hooper was out for three weeks. Though now recovered, the West Indian cannot return until this evening's match against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
Perhaps it was just as well since Mongia's contribution was to take two wickets as Derbyshire were limited to 142 for 4 and then make 50 off 34 balls, collecting five fours and smiting two sixes in the same over off the South African spinner, Anthony Botha. The catch spilled by David Taylor at extra cover off Hassan Adnan when Mongia was on three proved costly.
Mongia stole the show from Dominic Cork, who was clearly hoping to make an impact at the ground that was his home for 16 years. Cork's part was a wicketless four-over bowling stint and one ball faced, which did result in a boundary but went in the book as four leg-byes.
Supported by Mal Loye (32) and Stuart Law (31), Mongia's cameo may yet be the spark to reignite Lancashire's season.
* Leicestershire equalled the highest ever score in a Twenty20 innings as they gained a thrilling 10-run victory against Yorkshire. Batting first, the Foxes finished on 221 for 3 to equal the record of Glamorgan in 2003 and Surrey earlier this season. Their captain Brad Hodge and Darren Maddy set up the opportunity with a huge opening stand of 167.
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