Point apiece for Foxes and Steelbacks
BLAST 9 | Leicestershire Foxes 137 for nine v Northants Steelbacks 16 for none – no result
SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE
POINTS | Leicestershire Foxes 1, Northants Steelbacks 1
REACTION | To follow
REPORT | Rain curtailed the Vitality Blast match between Leicestershire Foxes and Northants Steelbacks at the Fischer County Ground.
A disciplined Steelbacks bowling performance restricted the Foxes to 137 for nine from a full 20 overs despite a stand of 64 for the third wicket by Mark Cosgrove (32, 33b) and Harry Dearden (37, 31b).
Ben Sanderson was the leading wicket-taker with four for 28, although captain Josh Cobb (4-0-17-0) was arguably the pick of the attack after bowling very tidily in the first half of the innings, and Dwaine Pretorius (3-0-17-3) also excelled.
There was not enough good weather to get a meaningful reply with Steelbacks at 16 for no wicket after 2.4 overs when heavier rain arrived.
With the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method not kicking in until five overs, both sides took a point apiece from the contest, meaning the Foxes now have eight points from nine matches.
The Foxes were unchanged while the Steelbacks made a sole change – literally, with Tom Sole in for Rob Keogh.
Colin Ackermann elected to bat first but it was the visitors who made an early impression with a tight powerplay of 31 for two.
Three runs came off the first over from former Fox Cobb and a wicket fell to Faheem Ashraf’s second ball as Harry Swindells (2, 5b) nicked the seamer to Adam Rossington.
Lilley (8, 5b) hit his first ball for four through backward point and a similar stroke then yielded three off his third delivery, but he fell to the fifth when lofting Sanderson high to Graeme White at backward point.
At 18 for two after four overs, the Steelbacks had the Foxes under pressure.
County’s fifth over was more productive as a pulled four from Cosgrove was followed by Dearden recording his first boundary by driving through the covers.
Rain stopped play for ten minutes and, upon the resumption, Dearden lofted a six that was parried over the ropes at long-on.
The 50 came up halfway through the ninth over, and Dearden pulled the next delivery towards the Thomas Cook Sport terrace.
After Cobb’s excellent four-over spell came to an end (none for 17), the Foxes had reached 62 for two at halfway.
Cosgrove and Dearden took their stand to 50 off 46 balls before the former twice pulled Buck to the boundary as 11 came off the 11th.
A sweep from Dearden beat a second valiant dive in as many overs by a visiting fielder but White responded with a wicket in bizarre fashion. The ball ricocheted off Rossington’s pads on to the stumps with Dearden just short of his ground.
Although the fourth wicket went down as Cosgrove was bowled by Pretorius, Ackermann continued to impress with a number of sweeps and reverse-sweeps off the slow left arm of White.
It allowed the 100 to come up midway through the 15th and Lewis Hill followed it up with a driven four through extra.
The Foxes struggled for momentum in the closing stages. Hill (7, 6b) offered a return catch to Pretorius, who then claimed a third wicket when bowling Ackermann (18, 12b), while Aadil (9, 9b) drilled a catch to Ashraf at cover off the returning Sanderson.
An attempted dinked four from Callum Parkinson ran away for four leg byes and helped to gather ten from the penultimate over.
And although Parkinson and Gavin Griffiths (4no, 1b) found the boundary in the final over, Sanderson completed his four-for when both Parkinson (10, 11b) and Klein (4, 7b) holed out.
It meant the Foxes were going to have to bowl and field superbly to take the two points - but they had done that in each of their last two games.
The score was eight for none after an over when the rain returned, with the Steelbacks requiring a revised 133 off 19 overs.
They progressed to 16 without loss off 2.4 overs as Levi hit two boundaries in 12no (10b), but heavier, more persistent precipitation arrived. And that was that.
Leicestershire Foxes have a few days without a game before a busy period on the road that includes back-to-back fixtures at Derbyshire Falcons (Thursday) and the Steelbacks (Friday), and a return to Championship action at Durham on Sunday.
FIGURES | Klein 1-0-8-0, Parkinson 1-0-3-0, Griffiths 0.4-0-5-0
TEAM | Ackermann (capt), Cosgrove, Swindells, Lilley, Dearden, Hill (wk), Aadil, Klein, Parkinson, Davis, Griffiths
STEELBACKS | Cobb (capt), Levi, Rossington (wk), Sole, Wakely, Pretorius, Coles, Ashraf, White, Buck, Sanderson
IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.