Ackermann 50 in vain for Foxes

BLAST 4 | Leicestershire Foxes 158 lost to Durham Cricket 161 for one by nine wickets

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Leicestershire Foxes 0, Durham Cricket 2

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | A blistering opening partnership between Scott Steel and D’Arcy Short propelled Durham Cricket to a nine-wicket Vitality Blast win at the Fischer County Ground.

Captain Colin Ackermann made an impressive 58 (49b) after Mark Cosgrove got the Foxes off to a good start with 36 off 20.

But the Foxes were dismissed for 158 as Matty Potts claimed a hat-trick with the last three balls of the innings.

The openers then shared 133, a record partnership for any Durham Cricket wicket in this fixture, with Steel making 70 off 30 (9x4, 4x6) while Short ended on 77no off 36 (5x4, 6x6).

Leicestershire Foxes were unchanged while the visitors made one switch as they brought in seamer Chris Rushworth for batsman Alex Lees.  

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Cosgrove drove the second ball of the game through extra cover for four, and repeated that feat in the second over as well as carving another four down to third man.

The left-hander then smoked a six towards Ranieri’s prosecco van, before fizzing a further boundary down to third man. Cosgrove also played a trademark cover drive in the fourth over before lofting over the top.

That sixth four of the innings proved to be the last, as Cosgrove was bowled by Nathan Rimmington, but Neil Dexter picked up the baton by smashing a six over cover later in the fifth.

At this point Cosgrove was back in the middle as a runner for Dexter, and the 50 was recorded as Arron Lilley drove the first ball of the sixth over through extra.

However, the visitors then hit back with a couple of wickets, starting as Lilley departed for 5 (3b) when offering a return catch to impressive spinner Liam Trevaskis.

Although Ackermann found the fence with a trademark sweep and inside edge as the Foxes progressed to 58 for two by the end of the powerplay, Dexter (8, 10b) was then bowled by Brydon Carse.

Suddenly the Foxes needed to regroup a little, and after a period of singles, Ackermann expertly found the gap at backward point as Carse offered a hint of width.

Lewis Hill (5, 9b) then swept Trevaskis to deep backward square-leg with Carse just about holding on as the Foxes lost a fourth wicket before the halfway mark.

The left arm spin of Trevaskis (4-0-24-2) and Short proved hard to get away in the middle overs, though Ackermann did play a cute reverse-sweep that saw the leg-spinner concede a four.

A huge six from Dearden brought up the 100 after 14.2 overs, and the batsmen each hit a maximum when Short switched to the Bennett End.

The slow bowler picked up a wicket when Dearden (23, 19b) attempted an improvised shot that ended in the hands of Rushworth at short third man, but 18 had been plundered from the 16th over when Ackermann swept the final ball for four.

Ackermann reached 50 from 37 balls (5x4, 1x6) when hitting two to long-on off a free hit, and when he clouted a six at the end of the over, the Foxes were 148 for five with 12 balls to go.

Only ten more runs were added as County lost their final five wickets in the last two overs.

The captain and Aadil (12, 11b) were bowled by Rimmington (4-0-26-3) in the penultimate over, while Potts claimed a hat-trick off the final three balls after bowling Dieter Klein (1) and trapping Callum Parkinson (0) and Chris Wright (0) lbw.

Durham Cricket started like a train by moving to 91 without loss off the powerplay.

A total of 16 came off the first over as Steel found the ropes on three occasions, the first ball of the next over beat a dive at third man as Short carved away, and there were four byes to end.

The openers each hit a six in the third while Short also pulled for four, and they both found the ropes in the fourth before the over ended with two consecutive cuts from Steel that went for four and six respectively.

When Steel struck two straight maximums in the fifth, Durham Cricket had virtually halved their target, and the right-hander then reached 50 with two consecutive fours carved over the off-side. The landmark came from only 19 balls, and included five fours and a quartet of maximums.   

A change of tack saw Parkinson and Lilley in tandem, but Short hit three sixes to leg in moving to a 24-ball half-century (3x4, 4x6), and two consecutive fours were struck by Steel inbetween.

Wright trapped Steel lbw to end the stand at 133 in the tenth over, but it did not halt momentum as Short hit another brace of fours and sixes to guide his side home.  

Leicestershire Foxes’ next Vitality Blast game is against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge tomorrow afternoon (2.30pm start).

FIGURES | Klein 2-0-30-0, Wright 3.1-0-34-1, Mike 3-0-54-0, Parkinson, 2-0-27-0, Lilley 1-0-12-0

TEAM | Ackermann (capt), Dexter, Lilley, Cosgrove, Dearden, Hill (wk), Aadil, Mike, Klein, Parkinson, Wright

DURHAM | Poynter (capt & wk), Short, S Steel, Raine, Clark, Burnham, Trevaskis, Carse, Potts, Rimmington, Rushworth

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

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