Foxes through after dramatic finale

NatWest T20 Blast Matchday 14: Notts Outlaws v Leicestershire Foxes 

SCORECARD

RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes (2 points) beat Notts Outlaws by two runs

REACTION | Cameron Delport spoke to us after the match, the interview is available HERE

REPORT | Cameron Delport hit a sensational 109 not out off 59 balls as Leicestershire Foxes progressed to the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals with a thrilling two-run victory against North Division winners Notts Outlaws.

Delport's career-best score included nine fours and six maximums and was the second highest individual total in Leicestershire's T20 history. 

Along the way he shared consecutive stands of 60 with Mark Cosgrove (37 off 28) and then 99 in just 7.5 overs with Ned Eckersley (30 off 18) as the Foxes put 203 for 5 on the board.

The Foxes looked to have things under control with the Outlaws at 102 for 5 after 11 overs but they bat all of the way down and Dan Christian smashed 73 off 32 balls to give his side the edge.

But skipper McKay dismissed Christian and paceman Mathew Pillans, who took 3 for 24 on a night where bowling was the toughest of prospects, then held his nerve in the final over with the Outlaws needing eight to win.

The result meant that the Foxes beat every single team in the North Division, and a record of six wins out of seven on the road will buoy them ahead of their last-eight contest at Glamorgan on Wednesday evening.

Leicestershire Foxes made one change to the side that beat Derbyshire Falcons as Eckersley came in for Lewis Hill. The team were batting first on a bright and breezy evening as home skipper Christian won the toss.

Delport struck a couple of fours down the ground in the opening two overs but Harry Gurney struck a key blow between the boundaries as Luke Ronchi (2 off 4) pulled to Alex Hales at deep square-leg.

Both Delport and Cosgrove collected maximums courtesy of powerful pull strokes. The latter then produced three similar strokes and a lofted cover drive to collect further boundaries as the stand passed 50 in a seventh over that yielded 16 runs.

Spin initially helped to control the run rate; Ish Sodhi also picked up a wicket with his leg-spin as Cosgrove miscued to Patel at short third man.

But the Foxes started to up the tempo against the slow men. Colin Ackermann swept his first delivery to the ropes while Delport clouted a four that had umpire Paul Baldwin ducking for cover at the bowler's end, clubbed a six that went into the Smith Cooper Stand, and hit a four to long-off.

Among the flurry of runs, Sodhi also claimed his second wicket as Ackermann (5 off 4) drove back to the bowler before the Foxes their 100 at the end of the 12th over.

Delport recorded 50 from his 36th ball (5x4, 2x6) by hammering Christian down the ground and then really shifted through the gears. 

The left-hander went six-four-six from balls two to four in the 14th after Sodhi switched to the Radcliffe Road End, and Delport then steered Jake Ball to the third man boundary before pulling the next ball for a huge maximum. 

Eckersley got in on the act by striking three consecutive boundaries and, all told, the Foxes scored 41 runs in the space of two overs.

Leicestershire were now 149 for 3 with five overs to go and Delport clubbed his fifth maximum before lofting a straight four to move within one stroke of his century. 

Eckersley pulled the last ball of the 17th over to gather his fourth boundary and Delport moved to a superb century off just 54 balls (8x4, 6x6). It was the fifth hundred recorded by a Leicestershire batsman in NatWest T20 Blast - four of them have been scored against the Outlaws.

A maximum off the final delivery of the 18th took Eckersley to 30 but he fell without further addition as Ball bowled the batsman to end his valuable contribution. 

Delport guided the final ball of the penultimate over to the ropes, and although Tom Wells (3 off 4) departed in the last over as he hit his own wicket off the bowling of Gurney, Pillans clubbed down the ground for four to ensure the Foxes went past 200.

McKay's opening over was a good one but the last ball was squeezed away by Riki Wessels. Alex Hales (17 off 9) struck Aadil Ali's first four balls for leg-side boundaries but the off-spinner held his nerve and Ackermann took a fine catch backpedaling at mid-off to help dismiss the dangerman.

Eight runs were gathered off the final two deliveries of the fourth as Moores produced a reverse-sweep for four and straight six.

But McKay continued his stranglehold from the Radcliffe Road End, having Wessels (6 off 6) brilliantly held by Eckersley at point, and Pillans then enticed the left-hander to sky to the skipper at mid-off, leaving the Outlaws at 44 for 3 in the sixth over.

Patel, who earlier bowled his four overs for just 23, hit three maximums over long-on and drove and cut a pair of fours to put the Outlaws back in it at 86 for 3 after nine.

Taylor (12 off 13) drove through cover point to record a rapid 50 partnership but he fell to the next ball, lapping Delport to McKay at short fine-leg.

The 100 came up after 10.2 overs before Pillans landed a huge blow when Patel (39 off 19) picked out Eckersley at mid-wicket.

Although Christian hit a couple of sixes, Wells struck with his first delivery between those strokes as Steven Mullaney (7 off 11) drove to cover, and the Outlaws required what appeared to be an unlikely 66 off 30 balls.

Christian had other ideas. Delport finished a fine evening's work with figures of 1 for 31 from his allocation but 20 runs came off the 17th over, including a four and two huge sixes by the Australian.  

It left a target that was now within reach at 39 off 18 balls and Christian hit consecutive fours in the 18th over, the first of which took him to 50 off just 25 deliveries (2x4, 4x6).

A Christian six followed at the start of the penultimate over, and two fours followed, but his staggering effort was ended as Delport took a juggling catch in the deep off McKay to leave nine runs to win off seven balls.

Two singles followed before Pillans removed Sodhi's off stump with a brilliant yorker. The Outlaws needed seven runs off four balls and Ball collected a single.

Pillans got in a perfect yorker that Root could only drill back to him, and the batsman then squeezed one away for two.

It meant the Outlaws needed four off the last ball but Pillans bowled another super delivery that Root could only score one from, and the Foxes had secured their place in the last eight right at the death.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 4-0-31-2, Aadil 2-0-27-1, Pillans 4-0-24-3, Griffiths 4-0-55-0, Delport 4-0-31-1, Parkinson 1-0-19-0, Wells 1-0-5-1.

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

OUR SPONSORS