Record-breaking Foxes off the mark in RLODC

RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes 377 for four beat Worcestershire Rapids 339 by 38 runs

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Leicestershire Foxes 2 points, Worcestershire Rapids 0 points

REACTION | Leicestershire Foxes all-rounder Colin Ackermann spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae after the game. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Colin Ackermann, Lewis Hill, Harry Dearden and Dieter Klein all had days to remember as Leicestershire Foxes broke a number of records during a terrific 38-run Royal London One-Day Cup win against Worcestershire Rapids.

The score of 377 for four was the highest score for the Foxes against another county, eclipsing the 376 for four made against the Pears in the corresponding fixture at New Road last season.

And the batting trio of Ackermann, Hill and Dearden each recorded List A best scores of 152*, 118 and 91 respectively as part of a brace of huge alliances at the Fischer County Ground.

The largest, 200 for the fourth wicket, saw Ackermann and Hill break the all-time fourth wicket partnership for the Foxes in List A cricket. They beat the 178 shared by James Whitaker and Peter Willey at Swansea in 1984.

Klein (four for 72) and Ackermann (three for 55) then returned their best List A figures for the club, and although it was a job well done by the Foxes, the Rapids deserve credit for recovering from 24 for four to post 339 thanks in large to a brilliant innings from Ross Whiteley (131, 83b, 14x4, 4x6).

The game was a tremendous advert for the Royal London One-Day Cup, played on a glorious day on a superb surface with a lush, quick outfield.

It wasn’t all plain sailing as the visitors got off to a quick start, reducing the Foxes for five for two after the first over.

Paul Horton and Mark Cosgrove were dismissed by Charlie Morris - caught at first slip and bowled respectively - as the seamer built on the seven-for in his previous visit to the ground for the Specsavers County Championship game last week.

Enter Ackermann, who would go on to break two successive partnership records for the Foxes against the Pears as he shared 170 with Dearden and a double-century with Hill.

Dearden had started well before the early double blow and it did not take long before the 21-year-old to surpass his best score of 31, as he played his way to a maiden List A half-century from only 46 balls (9x4).

There were some excellent strokes through the covers along the way, and the batsman was also quick to clip through mid-wicket whenever the bowlers went too straight.

The partnership of Dearden and Ackermann passed the 100 mark, and Ackermann soon joined his partner in earning a half-century. He played his sixth boundary through square-leg and over the rope, bringing up the fifty from 59 balls (6x4).

Dearden was in good form and was approaching his maiden List A century for the Foxes, but there was another milestone to reach before that.

The left-hander’s previous highest run tally for the Foxes was 87 against Glamorgan in 2017, and consecutive boundaries from Dearden saw him surpass that before being caught by Daryl Mitchell at mid-wicket off Josh Tongue.

That partnership between Dearden and Ackermann became the new record for the third wicket against Worcestershire, beating the previous best of 121 of James Taylor and Boeta Dippenaar at New Road in 2009.

Hill came in an picked up where Dearden left off, playing his way to a lively half-century in style from only 32 balls (9x4, 1x6).

The milestones were coming in thick and fast for the Foxes as Ackermann - like last season - became the first Fox of the season to reach a century from 110 balls (10x4, 1x6), this being the first List A ton of his career.

Once past the 100 mark, Ackermann showed no signs of slowing down as the Foxes looked to get close to 400.

The batsman raced away to the highest score ever posted by a Foxes player against Worcestershire CCC, passing the 125 that Barry Dudleston posted in 1979, and in doing so, took the Foxes past the 300 mark.

Hill was savage on anything short and played some delightful improvised strokes, including some deft scoops and reverse-sweeps.

The landmarks kept rolling in. Hill reached a career-best white ball score in passing 86 and went on to make a blistering maiden List A century from only 54 balls (14x4, 4x6).

Ackermann became the twelfth Fox to score 150 in a List A game. The list includes some of Leicestershire CCC’s highest List A run-scorers including Whitaker, David Gower, Brian Davison, Vince Wells and Darren Maddy, who reached the 150 mark on three separate occasions.

It came from 140 balls, with Ackermann hitting 15 fours and two sixes in the process. His strokeplay was sublime, including a couple of beautiful shots through mid-on, some lovely drives and cuts, and a couple of pick-ups that sailed over the ropes.

Ackermann’s eventual score of 152 not out (143b, 15x4, 2x6) was the joint tenth best individual tally for the Foxes in List A cricket, and the joint sixth highest against county opposition.

Leicestershire CCC’s fourth wicket record against the Pears was also broken. It ended on 200 after Hill holed out to Barnard off Tongue; the previous best was 123 between Phillip de Freitas and Darren Maddy at New Road in 2003.

The Foxes got off to a quick start with Klein and Hill combining as the latter caught dangerman Riki Wessels (0). Tails were up and Tom Taylor got in on the action as Cosgrove superbly ran and dived forward to catch Tom Fell (7) at mid-wicket.

The position grew worse for Worcestershire as Mitchell (0, 6b) was caught by Ackermann at first slip as Klein doubled his wicket tally. Moments later, Klein had his third prized scalp of the innings, that of Hamish Rutherford (8, 11b), as the New Zealander was trapped bang in front.

Klein was sitting on 3-14 and Worcestershire at 24-4, and although Brett D’Oliveira and Ollie Cox shared a 50-run partnership, Griffiths got involved. The seamer earned his fourth List A wicket of the season by bowling Ben Cox, who turned and saw his leg stump get knocked back. 

D’Oliveira and Whiteley reached half-centuries from 50 and 41 balls respectively during a sixth wicket stand that yielded 89 runs. But Ackermann continued his fine day by having D’Oliveira (57, 59b) caught at long-on by Arron Lilley to give the Foxes a welcome wicket.

Whiteley continued to go well, including a powerful pull that recorded the first six of the innings in the 30th over, and recorded his first List A century off just 68 balls (11x4, 1x6).

The left-hander shared 100 with Barnard in 9.4 overs and suddenly the run rate was below nines. And when Whiteley took ten off the first two balls of the 39th over, suddenly the target was into two figures.

Davis responded with a slower delivery that clattered into the stumps, ending Whiteley’s stay at 131, and when Wayne Parnell was caught at deep mid-wicket by Davis off Ackermann, who he went to school with in Port Elizabeth, the game looked up for the Rapids at 304 for eight.

Ackermann claimed his third wicket as Horton took a diving catch at mid-wicket to dismiss Tongue (5, 5b), and although Barnard (61, 51b) reached 50 from 46 balls, he was then caught at deep extra cover by Taylor off Klein to end an entertaining game. 

TEAM | Horton (capt), Dearden, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Hill (wk), Swindells, Lilley, Taylor, Klein, Davis, Griffiths.

FIGURES | Klein 8.2-0-72-4, Taylor 7.5-0-42-1, Griffiths 9-0-53-1, Davis 8-0-60-1, Lilley 6-0-44-0, Horton 0.1-0-1-0, Ackermann 7-0-55-3.

Worcestershire | Rutherford, Wessels, Fell, Mitchell, Whiteley, D’Oliveira (capt), Cox (wk), Barnard, Parnell, Tongue, Morris.

IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.