Clinical Foxes land vital win at holders

NatWest T20 Blast Matchday 11: Northants Steelbacks v Leicestershire Foxes

SCORECARD

RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes (2 points) beat Northants Steelbacks by 48 runs

REACTION | Mark Cosgrove spoke to us after the match, the interview is available HERE

REPORT | Leicestershire Foxes produced a tremendous all-round performance at Northants Steelbacks to make it five wins out of six on their travels in NatWest T20 Blast. 

The Foxes put a healthy 193 for 5 on the scoreboard as Mark Cosgrove (79 off 48) and Luke Ronchi (59 off 36) both hit superb half-centuries at Wantage Road.

A key for Leicestershire was that they managed to get hold of the usually economical Steelbacks spinners – one Rob Keogh over went for 16 while Saif Zaib conceded 18 in the 15th over.

In contrast, slow left armer Callum Parkinson dismissed dangerman Richard Levi in the second over, and Cameron Delport took 3 for 19 with his mixture of medium pacers and slower deliveries, as the Steelbacks were restricted to 145 for 7.

County’s seamers also bowled tidily, with Mat Pillans (4-0-25-1) and Gavin Griffiths (4-0-27-1) getting in their yorkers impressively.

The Foxes showed one change to the side that lost to Lancashire Lightning as Gavin Griffiths came in for Dieter Klein. The team were batting first after home captain Alex Wakely won the toss.

Ronchi hit the fourth ball of the innings over mid-wicket – it comfortably cleared a tent that was serving fresh pizza – and the opener also clipped the final ball of the opening over for four down to fine-leg.

Delport (26 off 16) struck three consecutive blows to the leg-side to collect a four and brace of maximums in the fourth over but lost his wicket at the start of the sixth as Keogh produced a moment of magic. 

The left-hander looked to have done enough to clear the fielder at backward point but he turned quickly, chased it down, and took a fine diving effort.

After sharing 50 with Delport, Ronchi was then part of another substantial partnership as he added 72 with Cosgrove.

Ronchi gathered half of the 58 runs that came from the powerplay, adding a further brace of fours down to third man before flicking another effort that bounced once before finding the ropes at backward square-leg.

Number three Cosgrove hit fours down to fine-leg and straight down the ground while Ronchi whipped a maximum off his pads and swept for four as the Foxes progressed to 97 for 1 at halfway.

The opener completed a trademark entertaining half-century off 30 balls (5x4, 2x6) before striking his third maximum, this time clearing Stephen Crook on the long-off boundary.

Although Ronchi departed in the 13th over, hitting Sanderson to Crook at deep mid-wicket, the Foxes had a good platform. Cosgrove continued to build, hitting a four and two sixes down the ground to move to 50 (32 balls, 3x4, 2x6).

The Foxes were nicely placed at 150 for 2 with five overs to go. Cosgrove clouted another maximum at the start of the 16th over before losing two partners. Colin Ackermann (3 off 6) edged Mohammad Azharullah to Adam Rossington before Tom Wells (1 off 2) was run out.

Those wickets stemmed the flow a little but Hill (15 not out off 11) quickly picked up the tempo as he launched a huge six over mid-on.

Richard Gleeson finished with decent figures of 0 for 27 - the paceman went for only five off the penultimate over - but the Foxes still set the Steelbacks a chase in excess of nine-and-a-half runs per over.

A total of 12 came off the final over, including another six from Cosgrove, who was run out off the fourth ball as he tried to regain the strike. The left-hander recorded a Leicestershire T20 best for the second time in a row; this latest highest score contained three fours and a quartet of maximums with his 79 runs coming at a strike rate of 164.58.

Levi (12 off 10) took ten runs off two consecutive balls in the opening over, including a cut for four and pull for six, but Parkinson bowled a terrific opener. The spinner restricted the Steelbacks to two runs and also claimed the wicket of dangerman Levi, caught by Aadil Ali at deep mid-wicket.

McKay then picked up the second wicket as Ben Duckett (1 off 2) went back to a delivery and was trapped right in front.

Rossington, who struck nine fours and a maximum in recording a 31-ball fifty, helped the Steelbacks recover to 87 for 2 at halfway - but the hosts still required close to 11 runs per over.

Another boundary arrived for Rossington as the opener cleared mid-off in the 11th over but the bowlers generally kept the home batsmen in check. 

They were rewarded for their endeavours. Both set batsmen fell as part of a five-wicket burst in the space of 17 deliveries. 
Griffiths started the cluster with the wicket of Wakely (20 off 20) as the skipper holed out to Wells at deep mid-wicket.

It ended an 85-run alliance for the third wicket and Wells took two further catches at long-on as the impressive Delport snapped up the respective wickets of Rossington (67 off 46) and Keogh (4 off 6). The bowler then turned catcher as Kleinveldt (1 off 2) drilled Pillans in the direction of mid-off.

Leicestershire were now well in control and Delport rammed home the advantage by bowling Zaib (1 off 4) to end with superb figures.

Crook (20 not out) and Sanderson (12 not out) saw the overs out but the Foxes still won by a healthy margin to set up a huge game against Yorkshire Vikings at the Fischer County Ground tomorrow afternoon (2.30pm start). A win would take the Foxes level on points with Yorkshire, Derbyshire Falcons and Birmingham Bears.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 3-0-25-1, Parkinson 2-0-18-1, Pillans 4-0-25-1, Ackermann 2-0-17-0, Griffiths 4-0-27-1, Delport 4-0-19-3, Wells 1-0-9-0.

TEAM | Ronchi (wk), Delport, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Aadil, Hill, Wells, Pillans, McKay (capt), Parkinson, Griffiths.

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