Steelbacks v Foxes preview

Leicestershire Foxes made it four unbeaten in the Vitality Blast last night as they ran out winners by 55 runs against Derbyshire Falcons at the Pattonair County Ground.

The Foxes’ bowling attack followed up the 149 posted with the bat with an impressive showing in the powerplay, taking six wickets from the first six overs.

Key wickets of Luis Reece, Billy Godleman, Wayne Madsen and Leus du Plooy fell with the highest score posted between them being six.

Gavin Griffiths posted career-best T20 bowling figures for the second time this season (3-14) as he lead the charge for the Foxes, with everyone in the bowling attack claiming a wicket.

Colin Ackermann took three for nine, making it ten for 27 live on Sky Sports.

With the Foxes regaining the momentum that may have dwindled following the home Vitality Blast tie against the Steelbacks which ended in a rain-affected draw, spirits are high heading to Wantage Road as they look to further cement their place in the top four.

However, tonight’s fixture is forecast to meet the same fate as the fixture at the Fischer County Ground seven days ago with rain scheduled throughout the day.

Head Coach Paul Nixon spoke on the possibility of a tie this evening: “We have to respect Northamptonshire. They are a side that have won it on Finals Day, they have been there, and they have big game players and dangerous cricketers – we have to respect that.

“Generally, Northants is as high a scoring ground as anywhere in the country in white ball cricket. We have been there in the past and done well, having knocked off 230 there last year. We are confident, but not complacent.”

With the weather forecast showing a huge chance of rain in Northamptonshire all day, the outfield, if the fixture goes ahead is due to be sodden and Nixon has to take this into account ahead of the clash.

He said: “It would be very surprising if it is a full 20 overs, so we have got to look at selection, batting orders and bowling orders to make sure that we get it right for the surface.

“We have got to make sure that we do our preparation well, think and pre-empt what their order could be and think about match-ups.

“A lot of thought will be needed, and we will get down there early and have a look at the surface.”

However, despite the weather concerns, Nixon is keen for the fixture to go ahead so the Foxes can build on their momentum: “There are still eight points left to play for, and a lot of cricket left to play.

“The season starts to hinge now, and this is the time to get momentum and get those points in the bank which is crucial.

“For us, the win last night [against Derbyshire Falcons] was a massive win because every game now – especially when playing against teams around you – are double-pointers, and them not winning is crucial.”

It is likely that the next fixture that the Foxes will play will be the home clash against Nottinghamshire Outlaws next Friday (August 23), a game that the Head Coach looks forward to.

He said: “Notts will definitely bring a few down. They are a star-studded side that have probably under-performed at times, and we have got to take good stock away from what we did at their place.

“Role clarity is a lot more embedded for us now, and we have had some consistency with that and guys have all produced little performances that have taken us home and that bodes well.

“We are excited to come back here, and we have got to try and make it a bit of fortress as it used to be.”

The Foxes have named an unchanged 13-man squad for tonight's game, with Ben Mike and Chris Wright again in contention alongside the XI that won at Derbyshire Falcons.

The Foxes’ next home game is on Friday (August 23) against Nottinghamshire Outlaws, a fixture that is setting up to be crucial as the Vitality Blast group stages look to come to and end. You do not want to miss this one, and you can buy tickets for the fixture HERE!

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