Leicestershire Foxes avenge heavy defeat, leaving Notts' quarter-final hopes on knife edge

By Jon Culley

By Duncan Browne
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 8:34 am
Naveen-ul-Haq of Leicestershire Foxes is mobbed by team mates after taking the wicket of Dane Paterson to win the Vitality T20 Blast match between Nottinghamshire Outlaws and Leicestershire Foxes at Trent Bridge. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Naveen-ul-Haq of Leicestershire Foxes is mobbed by team mates after taking the wicket of Dane Paterson to win the Vitality T20 Blast match between Nottinghamshire Outlaws and Leicestershire Foxes at Trent Bridge. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

A fifth defeat in their last six matches left Notts Outlaws’ hopes of reaching the Vitality Blast quarter-finals looking at best remote after Leicestershire Foxes avenged their heavy home defeat against their East Midlands rivals three weeks ago with a 47-run victory.

Alex Hales made 55 off 43 balls after being dropped on 19 but no other batter made more than 12 in a dismal effort by the home side after the Foxes had posted 170 from their 20 overs.

Samit Patel reached the milestone of 300 wickets in this format but his achievement was no more than a footnote as a disciplined performance earned the Foxes a third straight win to keep their qualification hopes alive.

Naveen ul-Haq finished with four for 24 despite suffering a painful wrist injury in his second over, with Ben Mike the all-round man of the match with two for 26 after hitting a 12-ball 29 to help his side set a competitive total.

After opting to bat first, the Foxes posted 46 in the powerplay after Nick Welch had opened the scoring with a six over deep midwicket off Luke Fletcher.

Welch and Harry Swindells both departed, Welch skiing Carter to mid-off, Swindells sweeping into the hands of backward square leg.

Arron Lilley and Lewis Hill added 45 from 32 balls but, after muscling Samit Patel over the midwicket boundary fox six, Lilley managed to slap an ugly full toss from the veteran all-rounder straight to deep cover, where Calvin Harrison’s diving catch afforded Patel his 300th wicket.

The Foxes struggled to develop anyl momentum as the Outlaws’ slower bowlers found some grip in the surface through the middle overs. Hill pulled Harrison round the corner for six but could not progress beyond 39 in the 12th over, chipping a return catch to Steven Mullaney, who had seen Colin Ackermann dropped on two in his first over but bowled him in his third.

The Foxes lost a wicket in each of the last five overs, including two run-outs. Wiaan Mulder’s 27 from 19 balls ended when he found the fielder at long-on off a low Dane Paterson full toss but Ben Mike hit three sixes in plundering 29 off 12 balls to give him and his fellow bowlers more to defend than looked likely at 142 for eight after 18.

The Outlaws were narrowly ahead after their powerplay at 47 for one after Joe Clarke had been bowled aiming an ugly slog at Callum Parkinson but the Hales drop by Welch at point off Mulder would have preyed on minds when the dangerous opener lofted Ben Mike for a towering maximum.

The teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed claimed his 15th wicket of the campaign as Ben Duckett was bowled behind his legs sweeping and when Tom Moores hit straight to long-off to give Parkinson his second wicket, the required rate was up to 10 an over with 10 overs remaining.

With the Leicestershire bowlers now turning the screw, the Outlaws lost two more wickets when Mullaney holed out off Ahmed and Dan Christian miscuing to mid-off, that had crept up to 15 when Hales ended a frustrating seven overs without a boundary by hoisting Mike over the straight boundary, going past fifty in the process.

But in trying to clear the rope again off the next ball he succeeded only in finding Mulder on the wide long-on boundary and that turned out to be the decisive moment, the last five wickets falling for 26 runs, three of them to Naveen in his last two overs, Mulder finishing with four outfield catches when Paterson holed out as last man to fall with two balls to spare.