Mike impresses against Pakistan
RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes 142 lost to Pakistan 200 for six by 58 runs
SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE
REACTION | To follow
REPORT | Ben Mike produced a fine all-round performance as a sizeable crowd at the Fischer County Ground were treated to a terrific display by Pakistan, who showed why they are the number one ranked T20 team in the world.
The tourists posted exactly 200 with both Mike (4-0-38-3) and Dieter Klein (4-0-31-2) both impressing with the ball for Leicestershire Foxes.
Pakistan’s strokeplay, coupled with a terrific wicket and lightning fast outfield, made bowling and fielding tough.
The openers impressed with Fakhar Zaman (52, 30b) looking imperious when driving through cover point while centurion Babar Asam (101, 63b) played a number of cut shots so late that they all would have missed the last train home.
In reply, Mike top-scored with an ebullient 37 (26b) in an innings that included two sixes. But Pakistan had an ideal mix of pace, seam and spin, and bowled the Foxes out for 142.
Leicestershire Foxes handed a debut to George Munsey, the Scotland international having been registered ahead of the game, while Harry Swindells, Aadil Ali and Will Davis also came into the XI.
Pakistan were batting first after losing the toss on an overcast evening, and Fakhar and Babar each hit a boundary in the opening over from Foxes skipper Colin Ackermann.
Left armer Klein bowled a quick over that only went for two, and some good fielding in the third restricted Pakistan to seven.
Fakhar struck three well-timed boundaries in the next over, including a gorgeous punch off the back foot that flew between backward point and cover.
The score reached 50 before the powerplay as Babar found the fence on a couple of occasions, including a lofted off-drive, while Fakhar played another trademark shot square on the off-side.
Leicestershire Foxes introduced Callum Parkinson for the seventh over, and the slow left armer bowled a tidy opener, with Fakhar having to produce a stunning straight shot to break the shackles with a maximum.
It was all spin as Ackermann re-entered the attack, and a deft late cut from Babar flew through where a slip would have been positioned. The ball was racing across the glass-like outfield as the score reached 92 at halfway with the openers closing in on half-centuries.
Pakistan reached 100 in the 11th over, and Fakhar posted 50 off the next delivery from 29 balls (7x4, 1x6). Mike then followed it up with the first wicket as Fakhar drove to Ackermann, who pocketed a safe catch at wide mid-off.
Babar progressed to a well-constructed 50 (37b, 7x4) before finding the ropes with another high-class late cut.
Another trio of well-placed strokes, including a beauty of a cover drive, took Babar to 70 – and the opener managed to produce a stroke that appeared to be even later and finer than his previous two efforts.
The score reached 146 for one with five overs to go, and runs flowed in the 16th as Asif collected back-to-back boundaries and Babar struck his second six.
Asif Ali struck three fours in 22 (15b) before holing out to Munsey at deep mid-wicket to give Mike his second wicket.
A lovely off-drive brought Faheem Ashraf (11, 4b) a six, and he immediately followed it up with a four before lofting Davis to Harry Dearden.
Babar reached his century from 62 balls (13x4, 2x6) before becoming Mike’s third victim from the following delivery, caught by Davis at long-on.
Two fast Klein deliveries bowled both Imad Wasim (4, 2b) and Hassan Ali (0, 1b) off consecutive deliveries, while a single brought up the Pakistan 200 off the last ball off the innings.
The left-handed Munsey (1, 5b) was caught when striking a reverse-sweep off Wasim to point as Pakistan struck in the first over.
Dearden played a super stroke down the ground while Cosgrove’s deft touches also registered a brace of fours.
A powerful pull by Cosgrove (19, 21b) recorded the first maximum, but the Foxes lost a second wicket when Dearden (9, 8b) chipped Faheem to Haris, and a third when Ackermann (5, 6b) was beaten by a direct hit from Imad.
When Cosgrove was yorked by left armer Shaheen Shah Afridi, the Foxes were 39 for four after the powerplay.
That wicket paired Lewis Hill and Aadil at the crease, and the duo regrouped in the face of a testing combination; the fast Hasnain and considerable slow left arm skills of Imad.
It was Hasnain who took the fifth wicket, Faheem taking a fine catch running towards the boundary at long-on to dismiss Hill (9, 9b). Imad then made it a brace of wickets by trapping Aadil (10, 12b) in front, leaving the Foxes at 63 for six.
A terrific pull from Mike off Shaheen flew to the mid-wicket boundary but the Foxes were seven down when Swindells (7, 8b) was lbw to Haris.
Hassan then bowled Klein (0, 4b) with a quick delivery that seamed back sharply to clip the top of middle, before Mike continued his fine game by planting a huge straight six.
Mike made it two maximums with a deft flick off Hasnain after moving across his stumps. He and Parkinson, who looked strong through the off-side, continued to strike the ball cleanly as the stand passed 50.
It was ended at 59 in six overs as Mike was caught by Hassan at mid-wicket off Shaheen, and an entertaining game came to its conclusion when Parkinson (27, 22b) was run out.
TEAM | Dearden, Cosgrove, Munsey, Ackermann (capt), Hill (wk), Aadil, Swindells, Parkinson, Mike, Klein, Davis
FIGURES | Ackermann 4-0-50-0, Klein 4-0-31-2, Davis 4-0-40-1, Mike 4-0-38-3, Parkinson 4-0-39-0.
Pakistan | Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Hassan Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain.
IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.