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Loye sparkles for Lightning

Lancashire Lightning improved their chances of making the knockout stages of the Twenty20Cup following an impressive 39-run victory over Durham Dynamos in the North Division clash at the Riverside.

The Red Rose county posted a formidable score of 180 for four in front of a 5,475 crowd after they lost the toss, and then backed that up with a good performance in the field.

Mal Loye was once again Durham's nemesis as he displayed an innovative range of strokes to fall just 11 runs short of his century.

Loye's best 50 over and Twenty20 scores had both been against Durham and the 34-year-old again took a liking to the north easterners attack.

Loye, who hit an unbeaten 80 in Lancashire's six-wicket Twenty20 Cup win over Durham earlier in the month, hit six fours in the opening four overs.

The hard-hitting opener reached his half-century off 37 balls and, when he was finally dismissed in the penultimate over of the innings, his 62-ball 89 included 10 fours and two swept sixes.

Lancashire had got off to a flyer with Sanath Jayasuriya making his first Twenty20 runs for the Red Rose county after two single figure scores.

Loye and Jayasuriya put on 81 for the first wicket with 65 runs coming in the six overs of field restrictions as Durham struggled to stem the flow.

Jayasuriya was eventually caught by Gordon Muchall on the midwicket boundary for 32 to give off-spinner Gareth Breese the first of his three wickets.

Loye and Twenty20s leading runmaker, Brad Hodge, however continued to score freely as they put on 80 inside eight overs.

Hodge hit occasional spinner Will Smith for two leg-side sixes in the 17th over before he skied the former Nottinghamshire player to Dale Benkenstein - who took a good catch on the run.

Hodge's brisk 34 had come off 22 balls and only wicketkeeper Gareth Cross missed out when he he was stumped by Phil Mustard off Breese for a duck.

West Indian Breese had comfortably been the pick of the Dynamos bowlers taking three wickets for 19 runs from his allotted four overs.

Durham began their reply needing to score their highest ever Twenty20 score, their previous best being 180 for four against Nottinghamshire in 2005.

The Dynamos made a promising start racking up 65 in their first five overs for the loss of Mustard, who hit a two-a-ball 26.

The left-hander struck the first three balls of Kyle Hogg's second over for 14 runs before he absent mindedly flicked the next ball straight to Oliver Newby at leg slip.

With Michael Di Venuto unable to bat after he fractured his finger in the field from just the fifth ball of the day, Durham elevated New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris to the top of the order.

Styris hit two sixes and two fours in a knock of 29 before Newby uprooted his middle stump, and the Dynamos' next four batsmen failed to make double figures.

Jayasuriya took the wickets of Will Smith and Gordon Muchall while a fine diving stop and throw from Mark Chilton at cover ran out Durham captain Dale Benkenstein.

Durham were up with the required rate at the half way stage on 93 for five but the wickets were tumbling and with Di Venuto unable to bat Lancashire eased to victory.

A steepling diving catch from Jayasuriya accounted for Breese and the Sri Lankan then removed Garry Park for 12.

Ottis Gibson hit two towering sixes before he was run out for 22 and the Dynamos lost their ninth, and final wicket, when Steve Harmison became Jayasuriya's fourth victim as the innings ended on 141 in the 17th over.

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