It's been a challenging campaign so far for the Leicestershire Foxes. Winless in domestic county cricket, the Foxes are rooted to the foot of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two table.
However, following a superb three-wicket victory in their opening North Group fixture against Lancashire Lightning, the new NatWest T20 Blast campaign can be seen as a welcome break from county cricket by all connected with the club. On Friday, the Foxes made it two wins out of two with an impressive five-wicket win against Worcestershire Rapids at New Road.
McKay brilliance sends Leicestershire on their way
Leicestershire captain Clint McKay bowled superbly, returning exceptional figures of 5 for 11 including a wicket maiden. The Austrailian returned career-best figures as well as the greatest return by a Foxes bowler in the competition as Worcestershire were restricted to 148-8 off their full twenty over allocation, having elected to bat first. The Foxes, who were unchanged from the side that won at Lancashire would have been delighted as skipper McKay made two crucial breakthroughs early on including that of dangerman Joe Clarke for 0 with Mark Cosgrove taking the catch.
Following the early wickets, opener Daryl Mitchell and Ben Cox were at the heart of a Rapids fight back. Mitchell made 31 runs off 30 balls and Cox made an important 51 off 36 including five boundaries and a maximum. Cox departed shortly afterwards with Cameron Delport claiming the wicket, before Gavin Griffiths removed the Rapids skipper Joe Leach for 0, leaving the Rapids well short of the pace on 68/4 after 11 overs of play.
Some good batting from Ed Barnard and John Hastings followed with Worcestershire looking to end the innings with a defendable score. Barnard struck two boundaries in a quick 15 run innings from 14 balls before being removed by McKay in the final over. This went on to be the final wicket in an outstanding bowling display by the Leicestershire captain. Despite the late Worcestershire fight back, the Foxes would have been more than happy with their display in the field. With McKay performing superbly, Callum Parkinson claimed figures of (1-29) and Delport took (1-25).
Openers get the Foxes above the mark early on
The Foxes began their chase of 149 in style. New Zealander Luke Ronchi sent the first three balls of the chase to the boundary and returned another in the second over. Fellow opening batsman Delport made a commanding start at the crease with four boundaries as the pair produced an opening partnership of 41 in 25 balls, before the dismissal of Delport by Mitchell Santner for 23.
Worcestershire began to slow the pace of the Leicestershire innings well taking a further three wickets, including the dismissal of Ronchi for 27 off 21 balls, before Brett D'Oliveira removed Cosgrove for 11 with his first delivery of the game. D'Oliviera then removed Eckersley for 0 before the Foxes lost big hitter Lewis Hill for 9 off 11 balls, which drew a close to a fifth wicket stand worth 38.
Arguably the turning point of the Foxes innings came in the 16th over. A total of 13 runs came off the over including an excellent maximum from Tom Wells. A further boundary from the all-rounder meant that the Foxes required 18 from 18 balls. 14 runs came of the 18th over as Wells hit another couple of boundaries, before Colin Ackermann hit the winning runs from the second successive game to secure another vital two points for the Foxes in the North Group which leaves them sitting pretty in the top four.
Leicestershire Team: Ronchi (wk), Delport, Ackermann, Cosgrove, Eckersley, Hill, Wells, Pillans, Parkinson, McKay (Capt.), Griffiths.