Buy Tickets


Northamptonshire Steelbacks ended Leicestershire's 100% record in this year's NatWest T20 Blast, winning by two runs on Duckworth Lewis after rain brought a premature end to the Foxes' innings.

The Foxes, batting second, had only themselves to blame, having been ahead of the Duckworth Lewis calculation for much of their reply after the Steelbacks had scored 165-8 on a hard and true pitch at the Fischer County Ground.

Northants were indebted to a partnership of 75 between captain Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh, who came together after Richard Levi was well caught low down at deep square leg by Dieter Klein off the bowling of Gavin Griffiths for 41, leaving Northants struggling on 68-4 in the tenth over.

But Wakely and Keogh kept the score board moving, Wakely hitting consecutive boundaries off Klein before 21 came from the 17th over, bowled by Matt Pillans.

Both bowlers came back strongly, Pillans (who earlier in the day extended his loan period at Leicestershire from Surrey by another month) knocking back Wakely's leg stump as he stepped to the offside and tried to lift the ball over short fine leg, and then Klein picking up the wickets of Steven Crook and Rory Kleinveldt with consecutive deliveries to restrict the Foxes' target to under 170.

They were given a good start by Luke Ronchi and Cameron Delport, who added 45 for the first wicket before Ronchi steerd Ben Sanderson to backward point, where Ben Duckett took a smart two-handed catch.

Off-spinner Keogh bowled Delport for 30, but Mark Cosgrove, who was particularly severe on left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, hit 41 off just 27 balls to leave the Foxes in control. 

Leicestershire were still ahead on D/L when the Australian was bowled swinging across the line at Kleinveldt, but neither Colin Ackermann (10 from 14 balls) and Mark Pettini (six from eight balls) were able to get the ball to the boundary before umpires Steve O'Shaughnessy and Ian Blackwell took the players from the field, with the home team having fallen fractionally behind the required rate.

Cosgrove acknowledged Leicestershire had missed a huge chance to make it five wins out of five.

“The chase was going really well, we feel we were in a pretty good spot with some power hitting to come,” he said.

“We knew the rain was coming but we just couldn't get ahead of the D/L in time. It probably came a few minutes earlier than we thought it would.

“It's unfortunate, but we won't lose confidence, we feel we had the game set up. We also feel we still have a lot more in us, we haven't played a perfect game yet, really taken it away from the opposition.”

Northants captain Alex Wakely said: "A win's a win, it was a great performance and we move on to another big game against Notts, in front of the cameras."

SHARE THIS STORY share on twitter share on facebook