"Quite a few haven't been good enough!" Leicester Foxes head coach Paul Nixon reacts to Outlaws defeat

By Jon Culley

By Duncan Browne
Monday, 13th June 2022, 8:43 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 8:43 am
Leicestershire coach Paul Nixon. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Leicestershire coach Paul Nixon. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Notts Outlaws kept their Vitality Blast campaign alive with a thumping win over Leicestershire Foxes at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Having bowled out the home side for a dismal 123 in 19 overs, Outlaws were home and hosed with 6.4 overs to spare after opener Alex Hales had launched their reply by smashing 44 off 16 balls.

Ben Duckett’s unbeaten 44 completed a five-wicket victory.

Leicestershire head coach Paul Nixon said: “Guys need to stand up and be open and say ‘sorry lads - that wasn’t good enough tonight.

"Quite a few haven’t been good enough for a few weeks now and we need individuals to stand up and win matches.

“It is very disappointing because it was a good pitch but with the hold that the spinners got it was the type of pitch we need.

"Had we posted 165 or 170 it could have been a really competitive game but again but you can’t have 60 per cent dots in the powerplay and expect to win games.

"I’m gutted for our home crowd that we’ve let them down again.

“Notts are a strong side with a lot of talent and experience and someone like Hales can take the game away from you in the blink of an eye, which is why he gets paid so handsomely.

“But it is about what we can do and our batting has not been good enough. If we had been a bit smarter we might have got up to 160 but we are just not being calm. We go too high risk at key moments too many times, taking poor options against really good bowlers. We are not thinking correctly out in the middle.”

The Outlaws were missing leading wicket-taker Jake Ball, but Dane Paterson, Calvin Harrison and Luke Fletcher took two each in an efficient Outlaws bowling display on a pitch offering a modicum of help, only South African Wiaan Mulder, with 32, and Rishi Patel, 28, even remotely threatening to make a game of it.

Four-times finalists and twice Blast champions in the last six seasons, the Outlaws have won only three matches at the halfway stage of this year’s competition but with fixtures in hand over all their rivals in the North Group will still fancy themselves to book a quarter-final place.

The Foxes also have three wins but from two more matches and have lost all four home fixtures thus far.

Skipper Colin Ackermann opted to bat first but a disappointing powerplay had left the Foxes 31 for three.

Fletcher dismissed Lewis Hill and Arron Lilley off consecutives balls in the opening over and though Ackermann struck three boundaries he was stumped giving off-spinner Matt Carter the charge, after which posting a competitive total looked a tall order for the Foxes.

Only Mulder - drafted in for his first appearance in the competition after New Zealand’s Hamish Rutherford was summoned as cover at Trent Bridge - cleared the ropes in the first 10, which also saw Scott Steel caught at midwicket for a stodgy 12.

Mulder lofted Harrison over long on for a second six and Rishi Patel followed suit against his namesake, Samit, but when Mulder tried to repeat the treatment against Harrison’s leg spin he sliced straight to long off.

A strong finish was required but instead the Foxes lost their last five wickets for 17 in 19 balls. Ben Mike was lbw as Harrison found some turn, Rehan Ahmed was beaten by Joe Clarke’s throw, Rishi Patel’s 28 off 29 ending when he was bowled trying to reverse sweep before Paterson bowled Naveen ul-Haq and Will Davis to wrap up.

Clarke and Hales needed only 14 deliveries to better the home side’s powerplay, and when Mike’s opening over went for 25, including 24 off the bat of Hales, the Outlaws’ boundary count was already higher than the Foxes managed in their entire innings.

Both openers then holed out in ul-Haq’s second over, which necessitated some regrouping by the visitors with two new batters at the crease, but Ben Duckett ended the powerplay with three consecutive boundaries for 81 for two and only 43 needed.

A couple of wickets for Callum Parkinson, who dismissed Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney with consecutive deliveries, and one for teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed ensured that the Outlaws would not have everything their way but Duckett’s eight boundaries ensured there was no unexpected twist.