Rob Jones hits 49 not out before Hartley and Saqib Mahmood star in gritty defence
Lancashire 159 for 6 (Jones 49*) beat Worcestershire 125 (Hartley 4-16, Mahmood 4-25) by 24 runs
The Lightning’s fourth win in 10 North Group games moved them above the Rapids into fifth place via run-rate and just a point outside the top four.
Jones top-scored with an unbeaten 49 off 33 balls in Lancashire’s 159 for 6 having elected to bat, with the 25-year-old steering a recovery from a mid-innings stutter.
Openers Finn Allen and Keaton Jennings shared a streaky 52 inside the powerplay on a pitch also used earlier in the afternoon for Lancashire women’s victory over Ireland. Ed Barnard tipped a Jennings pull for six off Dillon Pennington in the second over before three miscued aerial shots narrowly evaded fielders.
But pace-off prospered for the Rapids, who prevented a boundary for 45 balls between the eighth and 15th overs. New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi returned 1 for 24 from four, removing Jennings, while Australian left-arm seamer Ben Dwarshuis and Pennington struck twice apiece.
Dwarshuis had Steven Croft caught behind and Luke Wells caught at long-on in the 17th over, leaving the Lightning 122 for 6. But Jones, who was busy throughout his innings, and former Worcestershire loanee Luke Wood hit late sixes as 30 runs came off the last two overs, including 20 off the last from Charlie Morris.
Lancashire built on that momentum as Worcestershire fell to 36 for 3 in the sixth over of their chase. Mahmood had Brett D’Oliveira brilliantly caught low down at cover by Wells in the second over – a wicket maiden – before getting Jake Libby caught off a miscue in the fifth.
Hartley then bowled Daryl Mitchell. But his key contribution came with the 10th over’s first two balls as he had Riki Wessels caught and bowled and Ross Whiteley lbw, leaving the visitors on the ropes at 59 for 5.
He later had Ed Barnard caught at deep square leg to record the third-best figures by a Lancashire spinner in Blast history, leaving Worcestershire 81 for 6 in the 14th.
Ben Cox’s meaty 36 briefly threatened a revival, but it was game over when he was bowled charging at Matt Parkinson in the 16th, leaving them 106 for 7. Mahmood then yorked Sodhi and Morris in the penultimate over to finish with 4 for 25 from 3.3 overs.