Champions Nottinghamshire completed a second successive victory, with a bowling attack that showed its experience as the Outlaws beat East Midland neighbours Leicestershire by 19 runs at the Fischer County Ground.
“They strangled us well in the middle overs,” admitted Foxes’ captain Colin Ackermann, after seeing his side collapse from 80-2 to 102-6 when in pursuit of a target that did not look unattainable on a good wicket and with a lightning quick outfield.
Outlaws batsman Samit Patel said his side had completed a “convincing” win. “The intent we showed when we batted was good, Tom [Moores] and I managed a good partnership, and we accelerated nicely. Then we bowled to our plans and got wickets at the right time, because it’s always tough chasing ten an over.”
The visitors’ total was based on a partnership of 97 for the third wicket between Patel and Moores. Coming together when Riki Wessels’ attempt to pull a quick delivery from Zak Chappell gave Mohammad Abbas a simple catch at mid-on, leaving the visitors on 17-2, both batsmen made half-centuries, albeit in contrasting styles.
Patel, all wristy flicks, timing and placement, reached his 50 first, hitting ten fours as he went to 50 off 26 balls before holing out to long-on off Callum Parkinson. The young left-arm spinner picked up the wicket of Moores in the same over. The left-handed batsman had just reached his 50 with a bludgeoned six over midwicket before his attempt to repeat the shot was well held by Raine.
Captain Dan Christian, while unable to repeat his heroics of Friday evening, when he hit a century off 37 balls at Northampton, ensured his side would get close to 200 by thumping 47 from 29 balls.
Leicestershire’s reply began solidly enough, Cameron Delport and Neil Dexter compiling an opening partnership of 51 before Luke Fletcher yorked for 33 in the final over of the first powerplay.
Mark Cosgrove’s immediate dismissal for a duck, brilliantly caught by Steven Mullaney, one handed high to his right at midwicket, was a hammer blow to the Foxes’ chances, but the clatter of wickets that followed the loss of Dexter did not make for pretty viewing for the sizeable home crowd.
Lewis Hill was caught slog-sweeping at deep backward square, Ackermann and Ben Raine at deep midwicket, and although Mohammad Nabi, and in the final over, Mohammad Abbas, hit out to good effect, there was never a sense that the Outlaws’ score was under any real pressure.