Unbeaten run comes to an end against Outlaws

BLAST 12 | Leicestershire Foxes 161 for eight lost to Notts Outlaws 165 for three by seven wickets

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Leicestershire Foxes 0, Notts Outlaws 2

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | Harry Swindells batted beautifully but an excellent second wicket partnership of 96 between Notts Outlaws duo Alex Hales and Ben Duckett proved decisive in the crucial East Midlands derby at a packed Fischer County Ground.

Opener Swindells hit an ebullient 61 (46b, 6x4), sharing 78 for the third wicket with captain Colin Ackermann (42, 31b, 5x4) as the Foxes put 161 for eight on the board.

It looked to be a competitive total but Hales (60, 39b, 8x4, 1x6) and Duckett (47, 29b, 7x4) put on their runs in 9.1 overs to put the Outlaws in command.

The Foxes launched a gutsy comeback when breaking the stand, but the visitors kept cool on a a humid evening to get home with seven balls to spare in front of a crowd of 4,704.

Although the result was a blow, Leicestershire Foxes would move back into contention with a home win against Derbyshire Falcons on Sunday in a game that now holds huge significance to qualification aspirations.

The Foxes continued with their settled side and batted first on a glorious evening at the Fischer County Ground.

There was a lovely moment before the game as Ackermann was presented with his county cap by former Fox Claude Henderson - Leicestershire Foxes’ leading T20 wicket-taker - and Head Coach Paul Nixon.

Notts Outlaws went for spin at both ends in Matthew Carter and Samit Patel, but the Foxes started busily.

The first ball went for four leg byes, and Mark Cosgrove hit the first boundary off the bat by driving Patel in the second over.

Swindells pierced the off-side ring in the next over to find the fence at cover point, and the Foxes had raced to 27 off three overs.

A spell of rotating the strike followed, and a lofted drive for four by Swindells off Harry Gurney registered four more in the fifth.

The first wicket well with the score at 41 in the fifth as Cosgrove (14, 13b) edged a slower delivery from Gurney to short third man.

Luke Fletcher then collected a key wicket as he yorked Arron Lilley (0, 2) with another clever ball where pace had been taken off.

The Foxes were at 44 for two after the powerplay, and though Ackermann cut Jake Ball away, it was tough going following the double strike.

It was vital that Swindells and Ackermann kept the scoreboard moving and they did so with solid shots, low-risk boundary options, and some good scampering between the wickets.

With the total at 57 for two after eight, Ackermann timed a couple of sweeps to perfection and Swindells also drilled over extra to extend the score to 78 by halfway.

Ackermann dispatched a slow, short ball from Christian to fine-leg, and the stand reached 50 in the 12th.

Swindells struck a brilliant shot over extra to collect another four off the returning Gurney in the next over, and a great shot through extra from Ackermann brought him a fifth boundary.

When Swindells recorded his fifth four in the 15th, a dabbed effort off Christian, he had earned a well-constructed 50 off 41 balls.

The stand came to its conclusion with the score at 118 when Ackermann struck a low Christian full toss to deep mid-wicket.

Swindells hit a shot that deflected off the unfortunate Ball, but the bowler landed revenge before the 16th was out as the opener struck the seamer to Duckett at mid-on.

The Foxes tried hard to find the ropes, but Carter bowled Harry Dearden (1, 2b) before Gurney and Fletcher bowled well at the death by mixing their pace, length and angle of delivery.

Fletcher dismissed Lewis Hill (12, 11b) and Aadil Ali (10, 8b) in the 19th - though not before Aadil had drilled a brilliant straight four – and Gurney had Dieter Klein (1, 2b) caught behind in the last over, leaving the Outlaws a chase of just over eight.

The Foxes bowled well up front to put the visitors under pressure, the score reaching 12 off two.

But there was a four apiece in the third for openers Hales and Joe Clarke, who was also dropped off a steepler at short third man.

Clarke (9, 10b) was out to the very next ball, pulling Ackermann to Lilley at deep mid-wicket.

Hales then took charge, playing fine strokes to register three successive fours through extra, backward square and backward point in the fifth.

He then lofted a six over mid-off, and struck another brace of boundaries with the score now past 50 in the powerplay.

Parkinson and Lilley bowled a couple of tight overs and although Hales moved to 50 off 28 balls (7x4, 1x6), Duckett had now taken the lead role with several boundaries, many of which came through the leg-side.

But two key wickets were claimed; Duckett pulled Klein to Lilley at deep backward square, and Parkinson then become the Foxes’ fifth leading wicket-taker in the Vitality Blast competition when bowling Hales.

Suddenly there were two new batsmen at the crease with two wickets being claimed for three runs in two overs, and there was nearly another when Tom Moores skied Griffiths towards deep extra.

But the chance didn’t go to hand, and the chase was now at 29 off 24 balls after a good spell by the Foxes.

Christian kept cool to score 27no off 19 and guide his side home alongside Moores, who chipped in with 18no off 17.

With Derbyshire Falcons edging into fourth place, it means there is all to play for on Sunday afternoon at the FCG.

FIGURES | Parkinson 4-0-25-1, Klein 4-0-29-1, Griffiths 3.5-0-39-0, Ackermann 3-0-22-1, Davis 3-0-44-0, Lilley 1-0-5-0

TEAM | Ackermann (capt), Cosgrove, Swindells, Lilley, Dearden, Hill (wk), Aadil, Klein, Parkinson, Davis, Griffiths

OUTLAWS | Christian (capt), Clarke, Hales, Duckett, Moores (wk), Libby, Patel, Fletcher, Carter, Ball, Gurney

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