16th May 2017
Foxes out after last day drama
Royal London One-Day Cup Matchday 8: Yorkshire Vikings v Leicestershire Foxes
RESULT | Yorkshire Vikings (2 points) beat Leicestershire Foxes by 20 runs
REACTION | Captain Clint McKay spoke with BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae after the game, the interview is available HERE
REPORT | Leicestershire Foxes were left to wonder what might have been as Yorkshire's spinners turned the final Royal London One-Day Cup group game in their favour by a 20-run margin.
With Nottinghamshire's game at Northants abandoned, and given Lancashire beat Durham, a win for the Foxes would have seen them finish in the final qualifying position on net run rate on an exhilarating, tense final day of North Group action.
The team looked well placed when at 107-1 in the 14th over chasing 259 to win from 45 overs as opener Cameron Delport (68 off 47 balls) struck the ball incredibly cleanly.
But Azeem Rafiq, who earlier hit a priceless unbeaten half-century off just 29 balls, took 2-46 including Delport's wicket, and Karl Carver then claimed 3-24 off nine overs as the Foxes slipped to 189-8.
Clint McKay (35) and Dieter Klein (26) did their best to get Leicestershire back in contention with a ninth wicket stand of 42 off only 22 balls but the Foxes were bowled out for 238.
So on a day where four counties could have landed a quarter-final tie by finishing third, ultimately it was Notts that grabbed the final qualification place following a nervous wait on the results from Headingley and Emirates Riverside.
Earlier in the day, after the match was reduced to 45 overs because of a wet outfield, Gary Ballance anchored the Vikings' 258-7 with 71. Adam Lyth and Rafiq added 50s at either end of the innings, Gavin Griffiths (9-0-46-3) and List A debutant Callum Parkinson (9-0-44-1) impressing for the Foxes.
Foxes captain McKay won the toss and elected to bowl and the team showed two changes as Colin Ackermann and Parkinson came in for their one-day debuts for the club in place of Aadil Ali and Rob Sayer.
Klein and McKay got the ball moving around in conditions that favoured the seamers early on but Lyth struck three early boundaries, including a belting drive through cover point, and Lees advanced down the track to belt a six down the ground in the fourth over.
The left armer responded with a superb over, beating the outside edge of Lees on five consecutive occasions. Lyth went on to steal a march on his colleague, collecting a brace of threes and a couple of boundaries as the stand reached 50 inside the first powerplay.
Griffiths and Parkinson then combined to good effect, taking 3-37 from nine overs in tandem to peg the Vikings back.
Seamer Griffiths, operating from the Kirkstall Lane End, took the first two wickets, Lees (23) belting straight to Mark Pettini at cover before Jack Leaning (2) edged to Tom Wells at slip.
Lyth, who scored 50 of Yorkshire's first 78 runs in reaching his 54-ball milestone (7x4), was then dismissed by Parkinson, clipping to Ned Eckersley at mid-wicket.
The Foxes then struck for a fourth time as Peter Handscomb (13) drove Wells' very first delivery towards cover, Pettini taking a fabulous catch above his head to leave Yorkshire at 98-4.
Tim Bresnan survived on a couple of occasions as he hit Wells to McKay at mid-off and Parkinson to a diving Cosgrove at mid-wicket. He went on to share a 50-run partnership with Ballance, who opened his boundary account with a pull off Wells that went like a tracer bullet before cutting Parkinson away in the next over.
The spinner completed his work with figures of 1-44 and Griffiths then struck for a third time, Bresnan held by McKay at mid-off having struck three fours in 34.
Yorkshire were 172-5 at the end of the second powerplay and then lost a sixth wicket. Matthew Waite (2) set off for a run, but the batsman will have wished he had waited as Klein produced a direct hit at the bowler's end.
Ballance progressed to 50 (3x4) from the 56th ball of his innings before Rafiq had a reprieve on 1 as Klein could not hold on to a high top edge in his follow through. The skipper then smashed over mid-wicket to record his first maximum but Griffiths still ended with fine figures.
Rafiq made the Foxes pay for the missed opportunity, hitting consecutive fours in the 41st over, to mid-wicket and extra cover respectively, before 21 came off the antepenultimate over.
The all-rounder clubbed a brace of successive maximums while Ballance manoeuvred two fours behind square on the leg side. However, Ballance lost his balance to the last ball of the over and had to depart after hitting his own wicket.
Rafiq went on to record 50 off just 29 balls (3x4, 3x6) as the innings finished with momentum and Bresnan capitalised by having Pettini (0) caught at second slip in the opening over.
Delport and Eckersley picked up where they left off on Sunday, sharing 107 in exactly 13 overs.
The opener struck five fours and two sixes in the powerplay, including a straight drive that had umpire Paul Baldwin jumping out of the way. Eckersley, meanwhile, found the fence on four occasions with back-to-back efforts that recording the 50-run partnership in 7.2 overs.
The Foxes were a healthy 63-1 after 9 overs and Delport progressed to his second successive competition 50, this time off 36 balls (6x4, 3x6), by clubbing a six and four in the arc between mid-wicket and mid-on in the 11th over.
A total of 17 runs then came off Rafiq's second over as Delport drove boundaries through mid-on and mid-off, while a leg-side delivery also ran away for five wides.
Leicestershire's 100 came up at the mid-point of the 13th over before another clean hit by Delport flew over straight mid-wicket. The opener had to depart in the next offering, however, as he lofted Rafiq to Lees at long-off, and Cosgrove (0) became the second victim of the over as the off-spinner found turn to beat his forward defensive stroke.
Although the double loss made life tough for the Foxes, they were boosted by the news that the game at Wantage Road was declared a no result, meaning Notts ended the competition on 9 points.
This ruled Lancashire out of the qualification running given they could record a maximum of 8 points and Durham's fate was now in their own hands. The side with the most wins would progress as the first tie-breaker; neither Notts nor Leicestershire could match Durham, who would move to 5 victories if they beat the Red Rose.
But the North East county were struggling in their chase, so an opportunity was emerging for Leicestershire to move to 9 points and leapfrog Notts on net run rate rate with victory in Leeds.
Ackermann showed intent by hitting a four that had his colleague ducking for cover, though he and Eckersley were generally content to knock the ball into gaps.
But Ackermann (15) drilled the returning Bresnan to Ben Coad at mid-on before the impressive Carver inflicted a triple blow. The slow left armer bowled Eckersley (46), enticed Hill (11) into a cut, the ball going straight to Rafiq at point, before claiming a return catch to dismiss Parkinson (3).
Having been 107-1, the Foxes were now at 165-7 and needed Wells and McKay to steady the ship. Carver finished his evening's work and the Foxes then lost Wells for 18, Leaning running around to deep backward square-leg to take the catch off Coad.
The Foxes required 70 off 54 balls with just two wickets remaining as the game entered the final powerplay, and given Lancashire were on the brink of knocking out Durham, the point gained by Notts was appearing to be a precious one.
There looked like there could be one more twist on a dramatic final day.
Klein belted a four to deep mid-wicket and McKay clouted two consecutive sixes as the target came below 50. Klein then took 11 runs off the 39th over while McKay drove over mid-off for four as the Foxes kept fighting.
But the gutsy alliance came to an end when McKay picked out Leaning at deep mid-wicket off Fisher with 28 required off 32 balls, and hopes of progression vanished as Klein found Fisher at deep backward square-leg off Waite.
Yorkshire's win was not enough to secure top spot given Worcestershire beat Derbyshire, so they will now face a home quarter-final against whoever comes second in the South Group.
Leicestershire’s attentions now turn back to the Specsavers County Championship with a home game against Kent on Friday (11am start).
TEAM | Pettini, Delport, Eckersley, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Hill (wk), Wells, Parkinson, McKay (capt), Klein, Griffiths.
Bowling figures for Leicestershire: Klein 9-0-47-0, McKay 9-0-56-0, Griffiths 9-0-46-3, Parkinson 9-0-44-1, Wells 9-0-63-2.