Nottinghamshire slip to shock T20 defeat against Leicestershire
Nottinghamshire Outlaws, already assured of a home quarter-final, suffered only a second defeat of the season in the Vitality Blast as bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire Foxes won by two wickets with two balls to spare.
Josh Inglis and Arron Lilley were joint top-scorers with 42 and though the Foxes suffered some jitters after needing 35 from 25 balls and six off the last over, Naveen-ul-Haq hit back-to-back fours off former Leicestershire fast bowler Zak Chappell to get them over line after Steven Mullaney had taken three for 33 and Calvin Harrison two for 21.
Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores said: “I thought we batted really well up front but we needed a better finish. Joe Clarke keeps coming in and playing very aggressively and we got into a great position to be 110 for two after 10 overs but we just lost wickets, which happens when you play the style of cricket that we do.
“But I still thought it was a defendable total and though we nearly got ourselves back in it they got themselves over the line and credit to them, they played well. Bowling wise, our plans were good if our execution wasn’t perfect.
“I’m pleased for Steven Mullaney. He stepped in when Dan Christian could not come this year and he has led from the front all year and been tactically excellent. He gave us a chance today when the game was basically lost.”
The Foxes had dismissed Nottinghamshire for 173 in 19.2 overs, Naveen picking up three for 33 and Colin Ackermann three for 35. Joe Clarke hit 57 in 27 balls and Ben Duckett 45 off 27 but the Outlaws lost their last six wickets for 22 runs, Lilley holding four outfield catches.
Ackermann claimed an early blow for the Foxes after winning the toss when Alex Hales hit a full toss straight to deep midwicket but Clarke launched Gavin Griffiths for back-to-back sixes and Naveen for three consecutive fours as the Outlaws ended the Powerplay on 62 for one.
Clarke struck two more sixes off Ben Mike as he reached fifty from 24 balls and cleared long-on for a fifth six as Ackermann returned, only to follow Hales in finding Lilley at deep midwicket. Three fours in a row by Duckett off Ackermann advanced the total to 110 for two at halfway.
Lilley then applied the brakes with the ball, conceding only 20 in his four overs of off-spin and dismissing Mullaney as the Outlaws innings fell apart. The demise of Duckett, leg before sweeping, sparked the loss of their last six wickets for 22 in 23 deliveries, Naveen taking three wickets in seven balls.
The Foxes lost Rishi Patel early but with Inglis hitting sixes off Dane Paterson, Chappell and Matt Carter and Lilley another off Samit Patel the home side were ahead of what was needed at 75 for one after six.
Inglis and Lilley fell in turn to Harrison, both perhaps guilty of taking liberties with the young leg-spinner, Inglis hitting straight to long-on, Lilley comfortably stumped, yet at 107 for three after 10 overs the game was there to be won.
Scares followed for the home crowds as Harry Swindells was caught behind off a bottom edge, Ackermann sliced to short third man, Lewis Hill ramped straight to short fine leg, Louis Kimber was caught at midwicket and Callum Parkinson at cover but Naveen picked up four off the edge before pulling Chappell for the winning boundary.