An unbroken 97-run partnership between Steven Croft and Tom Smith helped impressive Lancashire crush Nottinghamshire by nine wickets in their FLt20 match at Old Trafford.

In a match reduced to 15 overs per side because of early afternoon rain, Lancashire opted to field first and restricted the Outlaws to 105-5.

They overhauled this total with nine balls balls to spare, Croft finishing 53 not out and Smith unbeaten on 45.

The win moves Lancashire into fourth place in the North Group and the Old Trafford side have a game in hand on all their rivals in the quest for a place in the quarter-finals. Nottinghamshire’s defeat was only their second in the 2011 competition.

Lancashire’s pursuit began badly when they lost Stephen Moore to a Ben Phillips slower ball in the second over, but Croft and Smith then dominated proceedings, putting on 50 runs in only 40 balls.

Both Outlaws spinners, Samit Patel and Graeme White, came in for rough treatment, the England international being reverse swept for four by Smith, and White being hoisted over midwicket for six by Croft.

Lancashire’s skipper then handed out similar treatment to Patel and reached his half-century off 33 balls.

Smith was not far behind his partner in demolishing the Nottinghamshire attack, hitting three fours and a six off former colleague Steven Mullaney in his 38-ball innings. Darren Pattinson conceded only 16 from his three overs and was the pick of the visitors’ attack.