Andrew Flintoff's return to bowling after seven weeks out with a left side strain was combined with Lancashire's progression to the quarter finals of the Twenty20 Cup thanks to a 23-run win over Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford tonight.
Flintoff, who made just nine from seven balls with the bat, had Australian batsman Adam Voges caught behind off just the fifth ball of Nottinghamshire's reply to 155 for eight.
He bowled two overs at the obligatory express pace with the new ball going for 14 runs. And he came back for two one over spells at the start of the 15th over. His pace caused the run out of Will Jefferson, completed by wicketkeeper Gareth Cross.
The 30 year-old finished with figures of one for 27 from four overs in his first bowl since May 9.
Lou Vincent continued his fine form after bashing an unbeaten 102 in Monday's win over Derbyshire with 56 off 36 balls which included nine fours and a six. The 29 year-old Kiwi was the main reason for the hosts taking 54 runs off the first five overs.
Mal Loye was bowled by Darren Pattinson for 17 having a heave and Stuart Law was caught by Voges off the same bowler for five.
But Francois Du Plessis hit 19 off 21 balls to keep the momentum going but when he went, the Red Rose began to stutter.
Mark Ealham, Nottinghamshire's bowling pick with three for 21 from four overs, got his first wicket when Du Plessis was brilliantly caught by a diving Voges at mid-wicket, the score being 95 for three.
Flintoff, who walloped a six over extra cover off Samit Patel early on, was caught by Rob Ferley at backward point when he top edged an attempted drive in the twelfth over.
Vincent followed in the 14th, trapped lbw on the sweep by left-arm spinner Ferley and Croft was bowled by Patel two overs later. Lancashire, who had been 95 for two in the eleventh, slumped to 115 for six in the 16th.
Kyle Hogg also followed later when he was caught by Charlie Shreck at deep mid wicket off the bowling of Andre Adams.
Cross at least rescued an innings that had promised so much with 19 off 14 balls, including two fours.
But the Outlaws certainly had the momentum courtesy of an Ealham led effort which also saw Pattinson and Patel pick up two wickets each. Pattinson claimed two for 16 from his three overs.
Flintoff's early wicket of in-form Voges for ten in the first over looked to have dragged back that momentum, as did Hogg's dismissal of Patel in the sixth over to leave the score at 42 for two.
But Jefferson and Chris Cairns put on an entertaining 35 for the third wicket to steady the Outlaws.
Cairns crunched two straight sixes in a 16-ball 21 but was run out backing up by Steven Croft, 77 for three in the 11th over.
And when Chris Read was bowled by Du Plessis in the next over for just the game was firmly back in the Lightning's favour at 87 for four.
Jefferson was then run out for 35 and when Flintoff took his catch on the boundary to gift Simon Marshall the wicket of Bilal Shafayat the game was done as 46 runs off four overs with four wickets left proved too much for the visitors.
Dominic Cork, Du Plessis (two for 16) and Marshall (two for 20) added further wickets as Notts were bowled out for 132.