WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids failed to brighten up their gloomy NatWest T20 Blast campaign after suffering a ninth North Group defeat.

Hosts Lancashire Lightning kept their quarter-final hopes alive by brushing the County aside at Emirates Old Trafford, winning by seven wickets with 15 balls to spare.

The lowly Rapids were stifled by spin as they posted only 127-8 on a pitch used for a Women’s Super League game earlier in the day.

Lancashire’s quartet of spinners returned 4-66 from 13 overs combined with in-form leg-spinner Matt Parkinson the pick of them with 1-14 from four.

Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone then shared a third-wicket stand of 76 in 11 overs.

Livingstone hit 36 off 37 balls without a boundary while Buttler finished unbeaten on 52 off 40 with four fours and two sixes.

Parkinson bowled Daryl Mitchell with a big-spinning leg break in his latest miserly spell.

Off-spinner Arron Lilley struck twice and later hit a brisk 31.

Left-armer Stephen Parry opened the bowling and struck in the seventh over to get Mitchell Santner caught at deep mid-wicket.

Pakistan overseas seamer Junaid Khan also claimed a two-for.

Only captain and opener Joe Leach, who fell to a brilliant one-handed diving catch by Buttler off Ryan McLaren, and Brett D’Oliveira made it past 20 for the Rapids with 24 off 17 balls and 30 off 33 respectively.

Josh Tongue got rid of Jordan Clark courtesy of a fine tumbling catch at short fine-leg by debutant Patrick Brown four balls into the Lightning chase.

Lilley then hit three fours in a row off Tongue at the start of the fifth over to take his side to 34-1 and ahead on Duckworth Lewis Stern with rain threatening the Manchester area.

He had hit five fours by the time he was trapped lbw by leg-spinner D’Oliveira as the score fell to 47-2 in the seventh.

Livingstone and Buttler took the score to 68-2 after 10 and when the latter hit Alex Hepburn’s medium pacers for six over long-on to take the score to 90-2 in the 14th it was the first boundary in almost eight overs.

The half-century stand came up off 45 balls in the next over before with net run-rate in mind the last 30 runs came in double quick time for the loss of only Livingstone.