SOME 20,000 descended on Old Trafford last night to watch the so-called Game of Roses, the highest crowd for a county T20 match outside of London and Finals Day.
They saw Lancashire tie with Yorkshire on a night when the Manchester weather had the final word.
After winning the toss, Lancashire scored 176-4 from their 20 overs, Karl Brown making 61, Ryan McLaren 34 not out, Liam Livingstone 34 and Jos Buttler 28.
Spinners Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq both conceded only 26 runs from their four overs, pegging the home team back after they had been 93-1 at the halfway stage.
It had the feel of a par score, and the sides were level on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method for deciding rain-affected games when the umpires took the players off with Yorkshire 64-2 after 8.1 overs.
Rain had been falling pretty much since the start of the Yorkshire innings, pouring with increasing intensity on the sell-out crowd.
No doubt mindful of that crowd, umpires Rob Bailey and Martin Saggers did their utmost to keep the players on the field for as long as possible.
In the end, a tie was probably a fair result, and the second between the clubs in T20 after they also tied at Headingley in 2013.
Beneath overcast skies, Lancashire made a flying start to the game as Brown cover-drove three boundaries in the opening over, bowled by David Willey.
Livingstone, his opening partner, was equally dynamic, cutting Tim Bresnan for four and then pulling the Yorkshire captain for six over mid-wicket towards Old Trafford station.
The pair added 61 inside seven overs before Rashid struck with his fourth delivery from the Pavilion end, having Livingstone stumped as he came down the pitch.
Brown then added 54 for the second wicket from 32 balls with Buttler, who ramped and reverse-swept with typical flourish before skying Rafiq to Tom Kohler-Cadmore running in from long-off.
Another fine catch in the deep followed when Adam Lyth held a tough low chance when Dane Vilas clubbed Rafiq towards long-on.
It left Lancashire 129-3 in the 16th over, Yorkshire reining them in well with pace off the ball.
Rafiq and Rashid used all their experience, proving for the umpeenth time their value in the T20 format.
Like Rafiq, Rashid should have finished with two wickets, but the wrist-spinner had Brown put down on 56 in his final over by Kohler-Cadmore coming in from long-on, a miss that the spectators behind him in The Point did not let him forget.
Brown, who was also dropped on 15 by a diving Willey at mid-wicket off Ben Coad when the score was 38, fell in the penultimate over when he played Steve Patterson into his stumps as he tried to hit to leg.
Brown’s 61 came from 47 balls and included six fours and a six, and it was a measure of how Yorkshire put the squeeze on that Brown had reached his fifty from 32 deliveries.
Patterson also played his part as only eight boundaries arrived in the second half of the innings.
He was the only Yorkshire pace bowler to concede fewer than 10 runs an over, with Bresnan yielding 34 from three, Willey 33 from three and Coad 24 from two.
When Yorkshire replied, Kohler-Cadmore cracked Tom Bailey to the cover boundary and then got his revenge on The Point spectators by sending a ball from McLaren into their number over long-on.
But a third successive low score in the competition followed for Yorkshire’s new signing, who was bowled for 12 when McLaren got his revenge with a full delivery.
As rain began to fall ever more steadily, bringing DLS calculations into sharp focus, Yorkshire lost their second wicket on 44 when Lyth skied McLaren to Arron Lilley at cover in the sixth over.
When the sides went off, Willey was unbeaten on 23 from 18 balls and Shaun Marsh on six from as many deliveries as both clubs collected one point apiece.
The result left Yorkshire with a clean sweep of possible outcomes in their four T20 group matches so far – a win, a defeat, a no-result and a tie.
They return to T20 action on Friday against Birmingham Bears at Headingley.