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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 18:38 UK

Mullaney puts Lancs in title hunt

PRO40 DIVISION TWO, Old Trafford:
Lancashire 80-1 beat Kent 162 by 25 runs (D/L) (Lancs 2pts)

Steven Mullaney
Mullaney had played just one Twenty20 game for Lancashire all season

Lancashire kept the Pro40 Division Two title race alive with a fine display in the field as they beat Kent to close to within a point of the leaders.

After electing to bat at Old Trafford, Kent were bowled out for 162 in their 40 overs, Steven Mullaney taking 3-36.

Lancashire were then 80-1 in the 18th over and well ahead on Duckworth/Lewis when rain forced an early end.

Lancashire still have two games left to overhaul Kent, but the leaders' final two games are both at home.

Kent play Warwickshire at Canterbury next Sunday (13 September, 1245 BST) before hosting Northants on the final day of the 2009 season on 27 September (1245 BST).

Warwickshire also have to go visit Surrey (16 September, 1540 BST) and Lancashire, on the final day.

Lancashire's penultimate game is against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens on 14 September (1640 BST).

Apart from the three-wicket haul by medium-pacer Mullaney, who had played just one Twenty20 Cup match so far in 2009, there were two scalps apiece for spinners Stephen Parry and Gary Keedy.

And Mullaney and Paul Horton both took stunning catches, to get rid of Azhar Mahmood and Justin Kemp (44).

Horton and Loye then gave Lancashire a steady start to their reply, reaching 44 for none off the first 10 overs.

But Horton became the chief aggressor, reaching his fourth score of 50 or more in one-day cricket this season off 53 balls, with nine fours.

He fell two balls later for 51 trying to repeat the dose and was caught by Kemp at short midwicket. But then the rain fell too - and that proved to be that.

Lancashire bowler Steven Mullaney told BBC Radio Manchester:

"I thought we set the tone very early with the new ball, I think the fielding performance was fantastic.

"It is frustrating not to get a result with a proper win, as you would say, but we got over the line in the end, which is good."

Kent Coach Simon Willis told BBC Radio Kent:

"When you're batting second under D/L conditions and you're only chasing 160, you've got a bit of a license to go out there and play a few shots.

"Azhar started well with two maidens but unfortunately at the other end we couldn't stop the runs so they got onto a flyer and it was always going to be hard to hold them back."

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