|Royal London One-Day Cup, Lord’s|
|Lancashire 304-4 (50 overs): Jennings 96, Vilas 70*, Croft 68; Helm 2-51|
|Middlesex 284 (48.5 overs): Harris 117, Simpson 74; Mahmood 4-38|
|Lancashire beat Middlesex by 20 runs|
Lancashire beat Middlesex by 20 runs at Lord’s to set up a One-Day Cup semi-final against holders Hampshire in Southampton on Sunday.
But, after Jimmy Anderson and Saqib Mahmood reduced the hosts to 24-5 after 10 overs, chasing a target of 304-4, Lancs were made to fight all the way.
A Middlesex List A sixth-wicket record stand of 197 between James Harris (117) and John Simpson (74) took them close.
But, needing 84 off 59 balls, both were out and they fell short on 284 all out.
At 221-6, Harris was crucially stumped by Red Rose skipper Dane Vilas off spinner Matt Parkinson. And just two balls later, England legend Anderson struck again with a second run-out.
With 43 runs needed off four, Mahmood came back to earn his fourth wicket – and a competition haul of 25 wickets in nine games.
A sliced top edge over third man for six off the last ball of Anderson’s ninth over then reduced the target to 27 off 12 but Nathan Sowter was run out and Toby Roland-Jones holed out.
Earlier, former Lancashire skipper Liam Livingstone was out fourth ball on his first start for the Red Rose this season following an unremarkable four-match stint with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
But England opener Keaton Jennings (96) Vilas (70 not out) and Steven Croft (68) all made half-centuries to help Lancs go past the par-score of 300 – and that quickly looked well beyond Middlesex.
Off the last ball of the fourth over, bowled by Mahmood, Holden played the ball to mid on, thinking the ball had gone past Anderson. But he was wrong as the 36-year-old paceman, down on one knee and with only one stump to aim at, scored a direct hit.
It then became two in two balls when a fired-up Anderson struck with the first delivery of the next over, trapping Nick Gubbins leg before with an inswinger.
Mahmood then got in on the act, having Sam Robson caught behind before striking twice with the first and last balls of his next over, when Stevie Eskinazi miscued to square leg.
Ross Taylor then edged an outswinger to first slip. However, Lancs hopes of an easy win were hit by Harris, who scored 11 fours and two sixes, and former Lancashire youngster Simpson.
It was the second time in three weeks that two Middlesex batsmen have posted a new List A county record partnership at Lord’s, following the 184 put on by Eskinazi and Gubbins for the fifth wicket in the win over Gloucestershire.
And it so nearly set up another victory, only for Lancashire to hold their nerve in the closing stages.