LANCASHIRE skipper Steven Croft admits his side need to win their three remaining T20 Blast games to have any hope of retaining their title.
Lightning were beaten by Derbyshire Falcons on Wednesday night and travel to Leicestershire Foxes tomorrow sitting eighth in the North Group table with only the top four qualifying for the knockout stages.
But with only three points separating Warwickshire in third and Leicestershire in ninth the battle for qualification looks like going down to the wire.
And Croft knows that if the Red Rose, who won the trophy at Edgbaston last summer after sneaking through in fourth place in the group, are to make it a repeat this year there cannot be any more mistakes.
"It's a tight group and we need to win our remaining games," said Croft.
"If we want to progress we need to win all three and we have to see it as a knockout stage now.
"It's been an up and down Blast for us but hopefully we can make amends on Friday."
Lancashire had put themselves in a strong position against Derbyshire in midweek but were left to rue a madcap final two overs where they lost five wickets as the Falcons chased down a target of 168 to keep alive their slim hopes of qualifying.
A superb 79 from 49 balls by Alviro Petersen should have taken the Lightning to a formidable total but they lost five wickets in the last two overs to end on 167-9 with Jimmy Neesham taking a T20 career-best 4-35.
Hamish Rutherford smashed 47 from 27 balls as 75 came from the first six overs and skipper Wes Durston plundered 51 including four sixes from 34 balls as the Falcons reached 170-4 with eight balls to spare.
Croft added: "We were looking at 180 plus and we had a such a good start as well but we lost the momentum towards the back end and they took that into their innings as well. They came hard at us and we didn't really stand up to it.
"I thought we came back really well but those 15 or 20 runs were vital in the end. We've come unstuck a few times in the powerplay this year and that's something we will try and address on Friday."