14th July 2017
McKay stars as Foxes make it two from two
NatWest T20 Blast Matchday 2: Worcestershire Rapids v Leicestershire Foxes
RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes (2 points) beat Worcestershire Rapids by five wickets
REACTION | An interview with Clint McKay is available HERE
REPORT | Leicestershire Foxes produced a clinical performance to record a second successive away NatWest T20 Blast victory, this time by a five-wicket margin against Worcestershire Rapids.
Clint McKay returned both career-best figures and the greatest return by a Foxes bowler in the competition - an astonishing 5 for 11 including a wicket maiden - to help restrict the Rapids to 148-8 off their allocation.
Openers Luke Ronchi and Cameron Delport got the Foxes ahead of the rate before Colin Ackermann (47 not out off 36 balls) played another nerveless knock and Tom Wells helped to finish the game.
The duo shared an unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 43 off 26 balls with the young all-rounder contributing a hard-hit 31 not out off just 16 deliveries.
Leicestershire Foxes were unchanged from the team that won at Lancashire Lightning in their opening game last weekend and were in the field after Rapids skipper Joe Leach won the toss.
Skipper McKay made two early breakthroughs by finding the outside edge. Dangerman Joe Clarke (0) flashed hard at a delivery that was taken head-high by Mark Cosgrove at slip while Brett D'Oliveira (1) was held by 'keeper Luke Ronchi in the third over.
All of the boundaries that arrived during the powerplay came when the Foxes dropped short; Daryl Mitchell hit three fours in the arc between long-leg and mid-wicket while Ben Cox pulled three fours and a six in a fifth over that yielded 19 runs.
Opener Mitchell (31 off 30) and Cox (51 off 36, 5x4, 1x6) shared 56 in exactly seven overs before the former attempted a lap sweep off Delport and was caught by Callum Parkinson at short fine-leg.
Gavin Griffiths then returned to york the dangerous Joe Leach (0) and the Rapids were now struggling at 68 for four in the 11th.
Wicket-keeper Cox collected fours through backward square-leg and third man en route to completing a 35-ball half-century but perished to the next delivery, clouting Parkinson's slow left arm to Wells at long-on.
McKay then returned to inflict another key double blow in consecutive deliveries; left-handed duo Ross Whiteley (1) and Mitchell Santner - who made a useful 21 off 13 balls - departed to calm catches by Ackermann at long-off and Hill at deep mid-wicket respectively.
The Rapids were at 111-7 with four overs to go before a useful stand of 33 in 21 balls between Ed Barnard and John Hastings.
Barnard struck two fours in scoring 15 off 14 balls before holing out to Ackermann at long-on in the final over as McKay completed his five-for. John Hastings finished on 16 not out off 9 balls (2x4, 1x6), collecting runs predominatly in the mid-on region.
Despite the eighth wicket partnership, the Foxes had done a good job with the ball with Parkinson (1-29) and Delport (1-25) again economical and Mat Pillans desperately unlucky not to land reward from four quick overs.
The Foxes got off to a flyer for a second game in succession. Ronchi sent the first three balls of the chase to the ropes and added another boundary through cover point in the second over.
Delport (23 off 16) smashed four boundaries, including two wonderful straight drives off Hastings and another powerful blow through extra off Jack Shantry, before being bowled by Santner's first delivery from the Diglis End.
It ended a stand of 41 in 25 balls but there was no let-up as Ronchi steered his former international teammate through backward point and Cosgrove hammered over straight mid-wicket to take the score to 51-1 by the end of the fifth over.
The Rapids continued to take the pace off the ball and the approach yielded a further three wickets.
Mitchell struck immediately, a slower delivery beating an attacking stroke from Ronchi (27 off 21), before D'Oliveira completed a hat-trick of bowlers to take a wicket with their first ball as Cosgrove (11) holed out to long-on.
The leg-spinner also took a wicket with the final ball of his first offering as Ned Eckersley (0) was caught by Clarke above his head at cover. Suddenly the Foxes had lost four wickets for 27 runs and were in need of a partnership at 68-4 after nine overs.
But Ackermann, who guided the team home in Liverpool, again took control. The batsman twice struck fours over the bowler's head to add to boundaries previously collected through cover and mid-wicket, and a six over mid-on took the score into three figures in the 14th over.
He lost another partner as Hill (9 off 11) was stumped by Cox off the first ball of Santner's second spell to end a fifth wicket stand worth 38 but Wells played a gem of a knock.
A total of 13 runs came off the 16th over, including a huge six by Wells over deep backward square-leg. Nine arrived from the next offering, Santner's last, including a nicked four by Wells to take the target to 18 from 18 balls.
The all-rounder then clouted another couple of fours and added a three for good measure as 14 came off the 18th, and Ackermann hit the winning runs for the second time in a row with a two off the third ball of the penultimate over.
Leicestershire face a quick turnaround with the next game at Birmingham Bears on Sunday (2.30pm start) but they will travel to Edgbaston full of confidence after taking four points out of four.
TEAM | Ronchi (wk), Delport, Ackermann, Cosgrove, Eckersley, Hill, Wells, Pillans, Parkinson, McKay (capt), Griffiths.
Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 4-1-11-5, Griffiths 4-0-44-1, Pillans 4-0-30-0, Parkinson 4-0-29-1, Delport 4-0-25-1.
* Thanks to John Mallett for the photo of Clint McKay bowling at New Road this evening.