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Date: Thursday 23 August 2012
Leicestershire Second XI won a thrilling friendly against Northants by nine runs at Lutterworth CC with Jigar Naik and Usman Arif playing the lead roles.
County resumed the second day on 46-4 in their second innings, the not out batsman being Colin Ackermann (14) and Naik (11). Naik survived an early scare, surviving a difficult chance to gully in the third over of the morning, the bowler being David Burton.
The partnership between Ackermann and Naik flourished taking the score to 106 (partnership of 71, County’s highest in the match) before Naik was caught and bowled by slow left armer Con de Lange for a very hard-working 39.
Ackermann proceeded to show authority to the bowling and reached his 50 from 89 balls (7 x 4). Ackermann’s knock proving crucial as wickets were falling quickly around him, Tom Wells (1), Jamie Middleton (4), James Sykes (0) and Robbie Joseph (7).
He added 17 with Joseph for the 9th wicket, and 19 with Robbie Williams for the tenth wicket, before being last man out for 73 off of 105 balls (7x4). Ackermann’s contribution was invaluable, his innings was also the highest individual score of the match.
County were dismissed for 155 meaning Northants needed 199 runs to win. Sam Sweeney picked up 5-68 for Northants (match figures of 10-117), Oli Stone 2-34, de Lange 2-12 and Burton 1-31.
Northants survived two overs before the luncheon interval. In the first 18 overs after lunch, County had Northants on the rack as they had reduced them to 56-5, Arif ripping out Keogh (9), Khawaja (0), and Chris Davis (4) and Naik ably assisting with the wickets of Kettleborough (18) and de Lange (18).
However, a partnership then developed between Davson (50*) and Rob Findlay (54*) and they took Northants through to tea with the score on 157-5, the pair having added 101 for the sixth wicket. Northants needed 42 to win with 5 wickets in hand.
Tea proved to have come at the right time for Leicestershire. During the tea interval a very heavy shower arrived and play was not able to recommence until 6.15pm. In the 3rd over, following the resumption Arif had Findlay (55) caught by Greg Smith at first slip. Smith did well to hang on to the ball as it was travelling like an exocet, any misjudgement would have meant four runs.
A large black cloud hovered over the ground and with both umpires in danger of getting acute neckache by persistently looking at the cloud, pace bowlers Arif and Joseph were removed from the attack. County turned to spin and with his first ball Naik had Davson (52) lbw.
Sykes was introduced to bowl in tandem with Naik, who had Stone (4) lbw with the final ball of his over. Northants now stood on 167-8, still needing 32 to win. Heavy rain began to fall and the players left the field at 6.47pm.
After some ‘Heath Robinson’ mopping up by the groundstaff play recommenced at 7.15pm, with 8.3 overs of the day remaining. Sykes completed the three balls of the outstanding over whilst Naik continued at the Coventry Road End.
The light had improved dramatically and Arif replaced Sykes at the Pavilion End. Burton and Sohal were nudging the score ever closer to the target but with the total on 189-8, Naik took two wickets in four balls, Burton lbw for 12 and Sam Sweeney lbw for 0.
That left Northants all out for 189, County winning by nine runs with four overs of the days play remaining. Arif finished with 4-62 (match figures of 11-85) and Naik 5-49 (match figures of 6-51). Sykes returned figures of 1-28. In a match dominated by the bowlers, Sunny Patel’s innings of 52 in the first innings and Ackermann’s 73 in the second innings should not be forgotten.