Ronchi and Ackermann star as Foxes win back-to-back

NatWest T20 Blast Matchday 12: Leicestershire Foxes v Yorkshire Vikings


RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes (2 points) beat Yorkshire Vikings by four wickets

REACTION | Colin Ackermann spoke to us after the match, the interview is available HERE

REPORT | Luke Ronchi and Colin Ackermann batted beautifully as Leicestershire Foxes produced a second quality performance in as many days to record a vital home NatWest T20 Blast victory against Yorkshire Vikings.

Ronchi recently struck the fastest ever Foxes 50 off 16 balls and now has the second quickest following today's 19-delivery effort, while Ackermann steered the side towards their target of 183 with a nerveless 58 not out off 47 balls.

Mat Pillans hit the winning boundary as the team landed a four-wicket success that keeps them in the qualification mix with two matches to play. 

Victory moved the Foxes up to 13 points, a tally that sees them level with today's opposition as well as Derbyshire Falcons - the next visitors to the FCG - and Birmingham Bears. Only Notts Outlaws and Northants Steelbacks have more points in the North Division.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore earlier hit an explosive 75 off 40 (12x4, 2x6) as the Vikings scored a competitive 182 for 5. The opener played the lead role in a stand worth 82 in 8.2 overs with Shaun Marsh, who expertly guided the ball around the field in posting a half-century of his own.

Gavin Griffiths (3-0-21-1) bowled extremely well for the second game in succession while Aadil Ali did a very tidy job, taking 1 for 31 from four overs of off-spin during his first bowl in the format.

Both teams were unchanged following respective victories against Northants Steelbacks and Lancashire Lightning on Friday evening. Clint McKay won the toss and elected to bowl on a pleasant Saturday afternoon at the Fischer County Ground.

Ten runs came from the first four balls but there was an element of luck to boundaries - one flicked the pad while another flew off Kohler-Cadmore’s outside edge - before McKay struck. Lyth carved to backward point and Cameron Delport took the catch at the second attempt.

Kohler-Cadmore struck the spin of Callum Parkinson and Aadil for six boundaries in the space of three overs, including three drives that raced away in the region between extra cover and mid-off. 

Mathew Pillans bowled a quick opening over that saw just five taken from it including a top-edge from Willey that flew over Ronchi’s head. 

The England all-rounder, who was tied down by the Foxes, departed for 9 (off 13). Griffiths hit the top of off stump with his first delivery and only conceded a single in his first over, leaving the Vikings at 46 for 2 after the powerplay.

Kohler-Cadmore was still going strong; the young opener produced some more strong strokes as his 50, which included ten fours, arrived off just 30 balls.

Australian Marsh was particularly severe on anything short, sending five balls hurtling through backward point for four, while Kohler-Cadmore struck a brace of maximums to mid-on as the Vikings pressed hard on the accelerator.

The right-hander collected two more boundaries at the start of the 14th over but Parkinson responded well. Kohler-Cadmore, who advanced down the track, got an inside edge on to the stumps to put paid to an entertaining stand.

When Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed fell in the same manner to Aadil, the Vikings had been pegged back to 132 for 4 after 14.4 overs.

But Marsh was still there, and he manoeuvered a ball backward of square-leg for his seventh four before posting 50 from 37 balls. 

The left-hander also sent a drive rocketing through mid-off in the penultimate over before being run out off the last ball of the innings for 60 (off 44) as he unselfishly looked to add a second run to the total.

Adil Rashid added a quirky 26 not out off 17 balls, including three fours, as the fifth wicket pair put on exactly 50 in 5.2 overs.

County were given a good start as Ronchi and Delport, who shared 54 in four overs, found the fence in the first offering while the New Zealand international introduced Azeem Rafiq's arrival by going six-four-six-four at the start of the second over.

Another brace of fours were whacked in the arc between mid-wicket and mid-on before Ronchi played an extraordinary shot - an uppercut that cleared the Members' Stand by some distance.

A couple of driven fours took Ronchi to 50 off 19 balls (7x4, 3x6) but Delport (5 off 6) departed inbetween those strokes, lobbing a catch into the covers off Plunkett.

Leicestershire lost their second wicket when the in-form Mark Cosgrove (0 off 1) chipped Willey to Kohler-Cadmore at mid-off before four leg byes helped advance the score to 65 for 2 after five overs.

Ackermann collected fours down to long-leg and over mid-on but the chase suffered a blow as Ronchi swept Rafiq's off-spin to Jack Leaning at deep backward square-leg to leave the score at 84 for 3 after eight overs.

Both Ackermann and Aadil struck different types of maximums - the former using power over mid-wicket, the latter timing to loft over mid-off - as the score reached 108 for 3 at halfway to leave 75 to win.

Aadil (15 off 9) deposited the first ball of the 11th over for a four over extra but Plunkett gained revenge when a nick found its way through to Sarfaraz with the score at 112.

Lewis Hill sent his first delivery rocketing through backward point while Ackermann played three classy strokes to pick up boundaries, including a sweep off Rashid that was timed perfectly split two boundary riders.

Yorkshire kept fighting and their captain, who recorded a six-for against Lancashire last night, again had the midas touch as Hill (11 off 13) drilled to mid-off.

All-rounder Wells smashed 14 in an eventful five-ball stay before Kohler-Cadmore steadied himself to take a fine catch running around from mid-on off Plunkett.

The target was now 25 at a run a ball but spinners Rashid and Rafiq squeezed the rate with two good overs, so although Ackermann posted 50 off 39 balls, 16 were needed off the last 12 balls.

Ackermann carved a four down to third man to ease the pressure and the Foxes needed seven off the final over from Bresnan.

After three singles, Pillans drilled a four down the ground to land two massive points for the Foxes with two balls to spare. The next game is the final group fixture at the FCG against Derbyshire Falcons on Thursday night – please come down to support the Foxes!

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 3-0-28-1, Parkinson 4-0-38-1, Aadil 4-0-31-1, Pillans 4-0-, Griffiths 3-0-21-1, Delport 1-0-11-0, Ackermann 1-0-14-0. 

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

* Thanks to Chris Roe of Neville Chadwick Photography for the photo of Luke Ronchi batting today.