Steelbacks secure 29-run win

RESULT | Leicestershire Foxes 261 for nine lost to Northants Steelbacks 290 for six by 29 runs

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Leicestershire Foxes 0, Northants Steelbacks 2

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | Muhammad Abbas took two wickets on his first appearance of the season but a partnership between Rob Keogh and Ben Curran proved decisive at the Fischer County Ground.

The duo put on 156 for the fifth wicket as Northants Steelbacks recovered from 104 for four to post 290 for six, Abbas finishing with two for 55 from his allocation.

In reply, the Foxes lost regular wickets, and ultimately posted 261 for nine. There were scores between 39 and 41 for young all-rounder Ben Mike, Colin Ackermann, Tom Taylor and Callum Parkinson.

Leicestershire Foxes made four changes for their penultimate Royal London One-Day Cup fixture of 2019 with Abbas and George Munsey both making their Foxes List A debuts on the club’s annual Family Fun Day.

Ackermann was leading the side for the first time in the format, while Ateeq Javid and Taylor also came into the XI that lost at Lancashire Lightning last Sunday.

Visiting skipper Alex Wakely won the toss and elected to bat first on a bright but chilly morning at the FCG, and the Foxes got off to a quick start.

Dieter Klein, bowling to Ricardo Vasconcelos from the Bennett End, swung a delivery towards the off stump and sent it flying, and with that, Vasconcelos headed back to the pavilion having not made a run with the Steelbacks at six for one.

It took Abbas just four overs to get back into the swing of things as Parkinson caught Richard Levi after the batsman sent a delivery spiralling up into the swirling wind.

Parkinson did well to claim the catch, with the wind above causing havoc, as he was running backwards. Levi was dismissed on 17 (17b) with Northamptonshire sitting at 24 for two.

A 62-run stand developed between Wakely and Josh Cobb to steady the Steelbacks’ ship before the slow left arm of Parkinson made the next breakthrough.

Wakely was lbw on the sweep having scored a useful 36 (47b), and moments later, Ben Mike picked up where he left off against Pakistan on Wednesday by taking the wicket of big-hitter Cobb (43, 70b).

Mike was hugely helped by Foxes new man Munsey, who superbly plucked a drive that seemed destined for a boundary out of the air with one hand at mid-off, and Northants found themselves at 104 for four after two quick wickets.

The partnership between Rob Keogh and Ben Curran at five and six for the Steelbacks proved to be a fruitful one, coming at a pivotal time in the match as the Foxes were getting towards the all-rounders within the visitors’ batting line up.

Keogh and Curran put on 156 for the visitors to haul them back into the game, with the pair both looking particularly strong hitting through the on-side and also running hard at every opportunity.

The left-handed Curran, brother of Surrey duo Tom and Sam, struck a career-best 69 (68b) before being run out by some impressive fielding from Harry Dearden.

Keogh was expertly caught by Ackermann at long-off from the bowling of Abbas with the paceman claiming his second wicket of the day. Keogh posted the top score for the Steelbacks, hitting 102 from 84 balls, including ten fours.

The Foxes had a challenging chase of 291, and Ben Sanderson made the task harder by removing both openers. Dearden (9, 14b) was brilliantly held by a diving Vasconcelos behind the stumps while Munsey (6, 14b) was trapped in front by one that nipped back off the seam.

Ackermann took 17 balls to get settled and then got off the mark with a tremendous straight drive for six, and he followed that up with another maximum, this time over mid-on.

The third wicket fell when Procter bowled Mark Cosgrove (11, 33b), and although Ackermann and Hill shared a stand worth 47, they both fell in the same Nathan Buck over.

Buck enticed Hill (28, 30b) to pull a short delivery to Curran at deep backward square-leg, while a slower ball bouncer accounted for Ackermann, who gloved low to Vasconcelos.

Javid and Taylor added 61 inside 12 overs but when Brett Hutton deceived Javid (24, 35b) with a leg-cutter that hit the off stump, the Foxes were at 156 for six.

It became 162 for seven as an attempted lap sweep by Taylor (39, 40b) off Procter looped into the hands of Hutton at short fine-leg.

Mike again demonstrated his ability with the willow, just as he did against Lancashire and Pakistan. The youngster looked at home driving down the ground and was also quick to pull anything short of length.

However, moments after hitting his sixth boundary, Mike (41, 29b) drove Buck to Cobb as a lively innings came to its conclusion. Parkinson and Klein (12, 8b) continued to go for it, but the latter was run out looking for a second run at the end of the 47th over.

Consecutive fours from Parkinson, together with a clean hit to the mid-wicket fence from Abbas (8*, 9b), took the score to 250. Parkinson’s good knock continued with another pair of fours in the final over, and he ended at 39* (27b) as the Foxes got to within 29 of the Steelbacks score.

Leicestershire Foxes’ final game in the Royal London One-Day Cup comes against Warwickshire at the Fischer County Ground on Bank Holiday Monday.

TEAM | Dearden, Munsey, Cosgrove, Ackermann (capt), Javid, Hill (wk), Taylor, Parkinson, Klein, Mike, Abbas.

FIGURES | Abbas 10-1-55-2, Klein 10-0-52-1, Mike 7-0-47-1, Taylor 10-0-62-0, Parkinson 10-0-51-1, Ackermann 3-0-22-0.

Steelbacks | Levi, Vasconcelos (wk),Cobb, Wakely (capt), Keogh, Curran, Procter, Holland, Hutton, Buck, Sanderson.

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