Foxes get close but Lightning strike

NatWest T20 Blast Matchday 10: Leicestershire Foxes v Lancashire Lightning


RESULT | Lancashire Lightning (2 points) beat Leicestershire Foxes by four runs

REACTION | Clint McKay spoke to us after the match, the interview is available HERE

REPORT | by Harry Josephs

A game between Leicestershire and Lancashire went down to the final ball for the second time in the NatWest T20 Blast this season; however, Lightning took the honours on this occasion.

Mark Cosgrove hit a Foxes T20 best of 77 not out off 58 balls but Lancashire, who used pace at the beginning and end of the innings and cleverly rotated their slow bowlers in the middle, defended their score of 173 for 5.

Cosgrove was well supported by Aadil Ali who hit 35* off 29 balls, a career best for him. The left-hander had come in with the score 35-1 after Luke Ronchi fell following an explosive 21 from 10 balls. He batted throughout to get the Foxes so close to victory.

Earlier Cameron Delport returned his best Leicestershire T20 figures taking 2-26 from his 4 overs, restricting the fluency of Lancashire’s top order throughout the middle overs.

Bowling first Leicestershire managed to restrict Lancashire with the Red Rose 19-0 after the first three overs.  The next three overs were more positive for Lancashire plundering 28 runs. At the end of the powerplay Lancs reached 47 without loss with Karl Brown 21* and Liam Livingstone 23*.

Delport came into the attack and struck with the last ball of his first over, Brown caught skilfully by Tom Wells at long-on for 22. Wells had plenty of time to set himself with the ball getting significant air time before managing to stay inside the boundary and completing the catch.

The all-rounder then struck again when Livingstone was caught by a backtracking Callum Parkinson at short third man for 30, his innings coming from 27 balls containing four fours and one maximum.  Buttler was ticking along nicely and the first ball of the twelfth over disappeared over long on for a huge six.

Delport completed his economical allocation but Lightning were ticking along without losing wickets and reached 100 in 14th over with Jos Buttler and Dane Vilas upping the tempo. The partnership was worth 74 before McKay returned to remove Vilas for 32, caught at backward point by Mathew Pillans, and the same combination combined to dismiss Ryan McLaren (6).

Buttler was playing an innings any England fan had seen him play many times for his country; he reached 50 from 34 balls, a knock that included two big maximums. Buttler fell for 57 from 40 balls (5x4, 2x6) in the last over, Pillans taking the wicket as Lancashire set the Foxes 174 to win.

Ronchi and Delport opened the batting for the Foxes and got off to a flyer. The first over of the innings going for 18 with Delport hitting the first ball he faced for six and the second he faced for four. Ronchi also got in on the act pulling the last ball of Junaid Khan’s first over, over the Geary Bar for a huge maximum.

Ronchi and Delport put on 35 for the first wicket with both batsmen going hard at the bowling. Ronchi departed for 21 from just 10 balls, hitting three fours and a six in the process. Delport departed six runs later bowled by Croft, who cleverly took pace off the ball to beat another big stroke.

Cosgrove and Ackermann kept up the momentum of the powerplay and by the end of it, the Foxes were 62-2, requiring 112 from 14 overs. The third wicket partnership was worth 39 when Ackermann advanced down the wicket to leg-spinner Matt Parkinson and was bowled for 14.

Cosgrove was now key to the chase and at the halfway stage the Foxes required 89 runs to win. An Aadil straight drive struck Cosgrove on the knee and after a stoppage, Ackermann returned to the wicket to act as a runner.

Aadil and Cosgrove reached their 50 partnership in the 17th over and the game was very much in the balance. Cosgrove’s experience and Aadil’s energy and willingness to move across his stumps were keeping Leicestershire in the game.

Even with 24 required from 12 balls the game could have gone either way – it was too hard to call who would end up victorious.

Just like the game at Liverpool earlier this season this game was going right down to the wire. Fourteen runs were required from the final over and Cosgrove hit the first ball of the over for 4, however, it wasn’t to be as McLaren nailed his yorkers in the closing stages to give Lancashire the victory.

The Foxes have taken nine points from their first ten games and NatWest T20 Blast now pauses for the return of the Specsavers County Championship on Sunday. The Foxes take on Durham in a game that starts at 11am.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 4-0-31-2, Parkinson 4-0-34-0, Klein 4-0-39-0, Pillans 4-0-43-1, Delport 4-0-26-2.

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