Cosgrove steers Foxes to crucial success

NatWest T20 Blast Matchday 13: Leicestershire Foxes v Derbyshire Falcons


RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes (2 points) beat Derbyshire Falcons by four wickets

REACTION | Mark Cosgrove spoke to BBC Radio Leicester’s Mike McCarthy after the match, the interview is available HERE

REPORT | Leicestershire Foxes now have NatWest T20 Blast destiny in their own hands after a vital victory against Derbyshire Falcons at the Fischer County Ground.

Chasing 140 to win, Luke Ronchi (32 off 15) got off to a trademark flyer while Mark Cosgrove added a measured unbeaten 57 off 41 balls to steer the Foxes to a four-wicket victory.

Matthew Critchley had earlier batted through for an impressive unbeaten 72 off 60 balls while Leicestershire's pace-off triumvirate of Cameron Delport, Aadil Ali and Callum Parkinson had the superb combined figures of 4 for 68 off 12 overs. 

The result, coupled with a win for Yorkshire Vikings against Northants Steelbacks at Headingley, means that the Foxes will progress to the last eight if they emerge victorious in the final game at Notts Outlaws tomorrow night.

Leicestershire Foxes were unchanged from the impressive win against Yorkshire Vikings. Clint McKay won the toss for the second game in succession and again elected to field on a pleasant evening at the Fischer County Ground.

There was a tidy start made by the Foxes as the Falcons were restricted to 12 off the first two overs and Gavin Griffiths capitalised, bowling a left-hander with his first delivery for the second NatWest T20 Blast game in a row, this time Billy Godleman (6 off 6).

Aadil was then rewarded for some tight off-spin bowling from the Bennett End by holding on to a return catch to dismiss Luis Reece (6 off 7). The ball looped off an leading edge over umpire Nick Cook's head but Aadil judged it perfectly.

Wayne Madsen picked up his first four courtesy of a sweep off Aadil but the Falcons had been restricted to 34 for 2 off the powerplay.

Critchley, who collected fours through backward point and the covers in the first six overs, then struck the first ball of the seventh over for a maximum to mid-wicket.

Aadil bowled his overs straight through and made another key breakthrough. Madsen (10 off 11) has often caused Leicestershire problems but drilled a reverse sweep straight to Parkinson at backward point on this occasion.

Delport and Parkinson kept the pressure on the visitors by bowling eight accurate overs in tandem.

The Falcons were struggling at 60 for 3 at the midway point and lost two more batsmen in adding 15 more runs in 20 balls. Alex Hughes (11 off 14) lobbed Delport's medium pace to Griffiths in the covers before Matt Henry (0 off 2) saw his leg stump disturbed by a quicker ball from Parkinson.

Derbyshire were at 95 for 5 by the time their respective spells had finished and although Callum Brodrick made a quirky 13 (off 11), the left-hander was pinned in front by McKay in attempting to reverse sweep the seamer.

Opener Critchley recorded his 50 from as many deliveries in the 17th over with a maximum to deep backward square-leg. It was the second six in a landmark that also contained three fours.

Critchley recorded two consecutive fours in the antepenultimate over before Daryn Smit (2 off 3) became McKay's second lbw victim. 

Further boundaries were added by Critchley and Hardus Viljoen (11 not out off 7) but the Foxes had a chase they would have been content with - exactly seven runs per over. 

County made a great start, having 14 on the board after the first seven balls, including a Delport (4 off 3) boundary that raced through cover point.

But the left-hander departed to Henry courtesy of a stunning catch off the next delivery as Madsen flung himself in the backward point position.

The wicket did not stem the flow of runs. Cosgrove sent his first delivery to the point boundary while Ronchi scored six off the last ball of the second over as a scampered two was added to by four overthrows.

Another four was recorded as Cosgrove hit back over Madsen's head while 15 came off the fourth over from Viljoen, including a four and six off the first two balls by Ronchi and a pulled boundary by Cosgrove.

Ronchi repeated the feat at the start of the fifth, just in a different order, as he struck Madsen for six and four to the leg-side.
The off-spinner had revenge off the next delivery when Ronchi picked out Hughes at mid-on but the opener's trademark rapid contribution was just what the doctor ordered to put the Foxes in charge.

Ackermann (5 off 4) struck his second ball for four over mid-on but also departed in the powerplay after a fine piece of fielding. Henry instigated a run out; he made a brilliant stop at backward square-leg after Cosgrove hit one powerfully and got the ball to bowler Imran Tahir, who successfully shied at the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Tahir then trapped Aadil leg before for 7 (off 12) but the Foxes were still handily placed at 82 for 4 at halfway with Cosgrove going nicely.

Lewis Hill pulled Alex Hughes for a mighty six before departing at the start of the 13th over, Critchley continuing his fine game by enticing the batsman to cut to Reece at backward point. The fielder took a good low catch to leave the Foxes at 94 for 5.

Tahir, who twice only went for one run in an individual over, ended with terrific figures to leave the Foxes needing 42 off 36 balls.

The pressure was released by two superb straight strokes by Wells (13 off 13) that yielded a four and six off Critchley before the leg-spinner had the all-rounder stumped by Smit.

Cosgrove, who had been starved of the strike in the middle passage, was looking calm. He gathered a fourth boundary by steering Ben Cotton through extra before lofting Critchley for six over the fielder stationed at long-off as 13 came off the 17th.

Only 10 runs were now needed from 18 deliveries and Cosgrove, who posted 50 off 40 balls (5x4, 1x6), added a sixth four to complete a third successive victory with nine deliveries to spare.

Everything is now set up for a fantastic final round of games tomorrow with the Foxes facing the Outlaws at 7pm. We'll be providing live updates on the game through our Twitter feed.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 3-0-27-2, Aadil 4-0-22-2, Griffiths 3-0-19-1, Pillans 2-0-20-0, Delport 4-0-18-1, Parkinson 4-0-28-1.

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