The talk in the lead up to last night's round of games was the hype around the possibility of Andrew Flintoff returning for Lancashire.
Flintoff was not selected by Lancashire in the end, but on the night there were plenty of other stars on show as the T20 Blast lived up to its reputation.
North Group review
Lancashire v Yorkshire
In the heavyweight Roses match at Old Trafford, Yorkshire overcame table-topping Lancashire by five wickets in a fantastic game lit up by Australian Aaron Finch, who hit a magnificent 88 from 55 balls.
Lancashire set Yorkshire a more than useful run chase as they posted 179-6 with fine knocks from in-form Tom Smith (55) and skipper Paul Horton (60). The game, though, was clouded in controversy as Lancashire suffered a six-run penalty which all but gifted Yorkshire victory going into the final over.
The game itself was full of excitement as a capacity crowd witnessed some sensational cricket, not least a catch of the season contender through a combination of Adam Lyth and Aaron Finch for Yorkshire. Lancashire remain top of the North Group despite defeat but Yorkshire have now moved up to third and have their great rivals in their sights.
Leicestershire v Worcestershire
Worcestershire's in-form players delivered once again as they overcame Leicestershire by five wickets in the final over of the match. Firstly Saeed Ajmal (2-23) continued his fantastic season, helping to restrict Leicestershire to 164-6 and then captain Daryl Mitchell was in the runs again as he struck 67 from 50 balls to guide the visitors home at Grace Road and move them into second place in the North Group.
Warwickshire v Durham
Warwickshire beat Durham by six wickets at Edgbaston as Boyd Rankin impressed for the Birmingham side with 2-27. Durham posted 146-7 in their 20 overs, with Australian John Hastings hitting 36 from 28 balls as they were restricted by Rankin and his fellow bowlers. Warwickshire reached their target in the final over but the outcome was very rarely in doubt thanks to a composed 51 from opener and skipper Varuna Chopra.
Derbyshire v Nottinghamshire
Alex Hales once again showed his class in the shorter format of the game with a well-made 63 from just 32 balls as Notts eased to victory by five wickets with more than three overs to spare at Derby.
Derbyshire batted first and made 164-7, largely thanks to Marcus North who hit 57 from 47 balls, but Nottinghamshire's bowlers, led by England's Harry Gurney (2-24), ensured Derbyshire could not post a more competitive score as they remain bottom of the North Group.
Essex v Surrey
Kevin Pietersen, on his return to domestic cricket, could not inspire his side to victory as they were soundly beaten by Essex at the Kia Oval. Surrey posted 151-6 with Jason Roy (57) and Gary Wilson (44) starring but Essex very rarely looked troubled after New Zealander Jesse Ryder opened the innings and smashed 31 from just 16 balls.
That left Ryan ten Doeschate (43no) and Tom Westley (44) to continue the required run rate and ensure victory for the visitors.
Somerset v Glamorgan
The highlight of this game was two fantastic knocks by Glamorgan's James Allenby and Somerset's Peter Trego as Glamorgan beat Somerset by seven runs at Taunton. Firstly Allenby starred as he bludgeoned 96 from just 59 balls as Glamorgan posted 176-3 in their 20 overs.
Somerset, in reply, got off to the worst possible start as they lost star players Marcus Trescothick and Craig Kieswetter early on. Trego, though, was unfazed as he tried to steer his side to victory. He was helped by some useful contributions from Alviro Petersen (34) and James Hildreth (33) but unfortunately Trego was left unbeaten on 94 from 59 balls when the overs ran out as Somerset came up short.
Kent v Middlesex
Australian Dan Christian hit a magnificent 129 from just 57 balls for Middlesex but was unable to guide them to victory as they were defeated by 16 runs and remain bottom of the South Group.
Christian hit 12 fours and 10 sixes in a fantastic innings but his Middlesex side are still struggling in this format of the game. Kent, recovering from defeat the previous night, posted a more than useful 208-4 with Sam Northeast (54) and Alexander Blake (58) hitting half centuries.
Christian ensured an excellent game for him by capturing 2-29. Middlesex, in reply, were always in with a chance whilst Christian was at the crease but unfortunately nobody else in the Middlesex side could contribute as they were bowled out for 192 with David Griffiths capturing 4-22 for Kent.
Sussex v Gloucestershire
Another tight game saw Gloucestershire emerge successful by just four runs against Sussex. Batting first, Gloucs hit 189-6 with Ian Cockbain hitting 84 from just 51 balls. Yasir Arafat starred with the ball, taking 3-38 for Sussex.
In reply, Sussex continually lost wickets at regular intervals as they tried to chase down their target. In the end it proved just out of reach as they fell just short having been bowled out for 185.
Graeme McCarter was the star with the ball as he took 5-35 for Gloucestershire - the best figures of the day - as both sides remain in the bottom half of the South Group after Friday's games games.
Saturday sees yet more T20 Blast action as Worcestershire take on Durham at Worcester in the North Group.
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