Metro One Day Cup Final at Trent Bridge Leicestershire v Hampshire September 16th

Neil Whitaker reports

LEICESTERSHIRE Foxes beat Hampshire by two wickets to win the  Metro cup  final at Trent Bridge but at 11.30 you would have got long odds on that happening after they had slumped to 19 for four.

Foxes captain Lewis Hill said: “This win proves that county cricket needs teams like Leicestershire.  We’ve stuck together as a group throughout everything that has happened this year and I am proud for our supporters.  I’ve been at Leicester eight years and I’ve seen some of the darkest times. If we win our last two championship games you never know.

There is great value in this competition because it gives young players a chance.”

Playing in his first match of this year’s competition 24 year old Harry Swindells hit his maiden List A century with an unbeaten 117 as the Leicestershire Foxes made 267 for five in their 50 overs.

When Swindells, who only played because Aussie Peter Handscombe who has kept wicket all season for the Foxes is in Australia, came into bat the Foxes were 89 for six and even 150 looked too far for them.  Swindells shared in a seventh wicket partnership of 151 with Sam Evans in 26 overs. Compared to Swindells, Evans  is a veteran playing in his third match of the campaign.

Hill added: “He only knew he was playing yesterday.  His innings was one of the best that I’ve seen live.” On eight Swindells drove Mason Crane to the extra cover boundary but when he was on five heart must have been in his mouth when he chipped Liam Dawson seemingly back to the bowler but he got enough height on it.  He reached his century when he clubbed Keith  Barker straight to the long on boundary

Swindells blasted Scott Currie to the extra cover boundary with the overs running out and much to the delight of the Foxes fans he pulled Barker over cow corner for his first six and repeated the shot to end the over with another six.  He uppercut Currie for another six in the final over of the Foxes' innings.  

At the other end Evans was almost the silent partner but he did the right things.  He steadied the Foxes innings and gave the strike to Swindells. Evans brought up the 50 partnership  off  73 balls with a single off Crane. He  flat batted leg spinner  Dawson to the long on boundary and  steered Ian Holland to third man to bring up his 50 off 71 balls with four fours.

In Hill won the toss and decided to bat and must have wished he had put Hampshire in when the Foxes slumped to 19 for four in the seventh over and then to 56 for five in the 16th. Doing the damage was seam bowlers Barker and Holland.

Hampshire got an early wicket when Rishi Patel feathered the last ball of the first over from Barker to Ben Brown.  Barker got his second wicket in his next over.  After smashing Barker to the long on boundary Sol Budinger skied him to Joe Weatherley at backward point.

Colin Ackermann drove Barker to extra cover boundary.  In the next over he chipped Holland and Fletcha Middleton took a good catch at mid wicket diving forward and he just got his fingers under the ball

The Foxes' disastrous morning continued when Wiaan Mulder was given out leg before to Barker for a duck.  Mulder reviewed it and the replay showed it to be plumb.

On five Hill went down the pitch to Barker and glanced him off his legs just out of the reach of stumper Brown’s reach to the fine leg boundary.

With Barker and Holland both bowling well Hampshire skipper Nick Gubbins kept  the pair on beyond the first power play and only one extra man out of the circle. Louis Kimber drove Barker straight to the long on boundary and later in the over Hill cut him to the point boundary.

The Foxes lost their fifth wicket when Kimber tickled  a drive off Currie and Brown took a comfortable catch. Hill paddled Crane to the fine leg boundary to take him into the 40’s. But in the next over he top edged a ball that if he had middle it, it would have flown to the point boundary.

In their chase Hampshire always looked in control until Gubbinson on  20 pushed  Chris Wright to mid off and set off for a single but coil beat Mulder’s direct hit. Leicestershire thought they had a second in the next over when a leg before appeal was tuned down by umpire James Middlebrook, Leicestershire reviewed  but the replay showed it to be missing.  They did get a second wicket when Middleton got an inside edge to Mulder and the ball cannoned into his off stump.

Brown played across the line to Tom Scriven was hit on the pad and given out by umpire Graham Lloyd.  Brown reviewed it and the replay showed it to be missing.

Tom Prest and Brown seemed to be guiding Hampshire home.  Prest went down the pitch to Hull and smashed him to the extra cover boundary. Brown reversed swept Ackermann to the third man boundary and the deftness of that shot enabled the Hampshire pair to cause panic among the Leicestershire fielders and pinch a crafty single of the next.  In the next over he drove Scriven straight to the long on boundary. Prest lofted Ackermann just over the outstretched hand of Hill at mid off and reached the boundary.

They lost three wickets in three overs for 19 runs. Wright came back into the attack and struck with his first when Brown pulled him to Ackermann at short mid wicket, they had added 79 in 15 overs. Aye Donald top edged a pull off Wright and Ackermann took  a steapling catch at mid wicket.  Prest went down the pitch to Hull and brutally smashed over long off into the Radcliffe road stand. A couple of balls he edged Josh Hull just wide off stumper Swindells for a couple to bring up his 50 off 60 balls with six fours and that six.  But it was Hull who had the last laugh when Prest chipped a simple return catch to him.

On 10 Dawson had a life when he chopped on to Hull but the ball missed the stumps by half an inch in old money.  With Weatherley they added 82 in 17 overs. Weatherley’s first shot in anger was when he   slogged/swept Ackerman over cow corner for a big six.

With 50 needed from six overs Weatherley swept Ackerman straight to substitute Will Davis coming in from the boundary took a great low catch diving forward, even though the umpires weren’t sure it had carried but it had.

Holland got off the mark straight away when he swept Ackermann to the fine leg boundary.  Hampshire needed 35 from four overs, Dawson squeezed Mulder to the point boundary then Holland scooped Mulder to the third man boundary.  He scooped the next ball but found Hull running in from the long leg boundary.

With 25 needed from three Barker delicately edged Hull wide of Swindells to the boundary and ramped the next ball for a couple. Dawson lofted Hull for a six over extra cover to bring up his 50 from 60 balls, surely Hampshire were home.

But with  five needed from three balls Dawson clipped Hull off his legs to Wright at fine leg and underdogs Leicestershire were home.

Prest said: “At the halfway stage we were pretty happy because we thought that 280 to 300 was the par score and we would have taken 260 at the beginning of the day.  We felt that we were always in control in our chase and that we needed one of our top five to get a hundred to see us home.  We were happy needing 11 from two overs but we just couldn’t get over the line.  Still we’ve won more games than we lost.”


September 19, 2023 1:00 pm

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