Match Preview v Durham Cricket (A)
Leicestershire Foxes take their Vitality Blast campaign up North to take on Durham Cricket following the dramatic last ball win against Yorkshire Vikings last night.
The Running Foxes will be buoyant following their display on Friday night and will be looking to build on their current third placed position in the Vitality Blast North group.
Durham will also be in high spirits following their 55-run win over Derbyshire Falcons on Friday, their first in the competition this year.
As the contest is scheduled to be played behind closed doors, the fixture will be available to watch via live stream on the new ECB hub. Find out more HERE.
For Sunday’s battle against Durham, it is interesting to look at two opening batsmen, Gareth Delany (Foxes) and Alex Lees (Durham), who both contributed positively to each team’s respective last round wins.
So far for the Foxes, Delany has scored 162 runs in four innings at an average of 40.50 and a strike rate of 152.83, scoring boundaries in 22.42% of balls faced - a figure which is elite level. He scored 68 from 45 balls against Durham in that match at Headingley, scoring seven fours and three sixes, and a similar performance will put Leicestershire in an excellent position to get another victory in the competition.
Opposing number Lees top-scored for Durham in their defeat against us in that T20 match in August with 36 from 29 balls, scoring three fours and a six, and has netted 241 runs in four innings so far in the tournament, at an average of 60.25. However, while these numbers are impressive, his runs have only come at a strike rate of 128.19, considerably below Delany's efforts so far this season.
It will be fascinating to see whether Delany's attacking nature or Lees' stability-driven style wins out on Sunday.
Last Time We Met in Vitality Blast
The Foxes and Durham faced each other live on Sky Sports at Emerald Headingley earlier in the Blast campaign, in a fixture that went down as the Foxes’ home tie.
The Running Foxes ran out comprehensive winners by 30 runs following impressive displays from Arron Lilley (69) and Gareth Delany (68) with the bat.
Foxes skipper Colin Ackermann won the toss and elected to bat on a warm day in Headingley which proved to be the correct decision.
The opening wicket fell fairly early, in the third over, as Harry Dearden (9, 11b) was caught by Bedingham off the bowling Coughlin - this saw Lilley join Delany at the crease.
Delany was the man that was in which saw Lilley passing on the strike so the Foxes could keep pushing the score – an unusual situation for a batsman who boasts one of the highest strike rates in the format in the world.
Delany’s and Lilley’s partnership went from strength to strength and soon they had surpassed the second wicket record against Durham of 81 set back in 2013 as the duo posted 88 between them to catapult the Foxes up to 106 for two, as Delany was caught by Steel off Trevaskis for a 45 ball 68.
Lilley then remained at the crease until 19.4 overs had passed as Ackermann (0, 1b) was caught by Bedingham off Trevaskis, Lewis Hill (9, 8b) was caught by Lees off Rimmington and Tom Taylor (12, 6b) was caught by Dickson off Potts.
Lilley’s career-T20 best of 69 from 45 balls saw the Running Foxes finish with a competitive total of 177 for six.
Durham began their reply and soon found themselves a wicket down after Ackermann claimed the wicket of opener Steel (12, 7b) caught by Davis.
The Foxes kept up the pressure with the ball as they claimed their second wicket in the powerplay as Clark (7, 8b) was clean bowled by Gavin Griffiths as the Foxes attack looked to build some momentum.
The third wicket was crucial in the tie as Will Davis claimed the wicket of Durham danger man Alex Lees for 36 (29b), caught by Rhodes as the Running Foxes forced themselves into a strong position.
Durham then failed to form any meaningful partnerships with the Foxes attack restricting the flow of boundaries at Headingley.
Callum Parkinson (4-0-21-3) and Tom Taylor (4-0-23-0) suffocated the Durham batsmen for runs which saw the ‘away’ side fall 30 runs short of Leicestershire’s 177.
Head Coach Paul Nixon names a 14-man squad for the trip to Durham.
There is one change to the squad that was named for the Yorkshire Vikings fixture, as Nat Bowley is called up in place of George Rhodes. This is Bowley's first inclusion in a Vitality Blast matchday squad this season, and could add an extra dose of specialist spin into the attack.
New signing Nick Welch remains in the squad having not been called up for his debut against the Vikings.
Leicestershire from 14: Colin Ackermann (c), Nat Bowley, Will Davis, Gareth Delany, Harry Dearden, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Dieter Klein, Arron Lilley, Ben Mike, Callum Parkinson, Harry Swindells, Tom Taylor, Nick Welch.