Leicestershire 243 for 5 (Delport 122, Ackermann 50, Clark 3-18) beat Durham 240 (Davies 61*, Chappell 3-45) by five wickets
An impressive century from Cameron Delport ensured Leicestershire finished their Royal London Cup campaign with victory over fellow strugglers Durham at the Fischer County Ground.
The South African left-hander hit 16 fours and two sixes in making122 from 128 balls as the Foxes chased down a Durham score that always looked to be well under par on a good, if slightly slow, wicket.
“That’s my second hundred for the Foxes, but my first in the 50 over format, so it was a special one – the more so after losing my Mum back in March, she was in my mind,” Delport said.
“I had a great experience with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, I learned a lot but it was a bit frustrating not to play games. My time will come out there, but it meant it was quite difficult to come back to England and hit the ground running on very different pitches.”
Leicestershire had taken a total of just seven wickets in their previous five Royal London Cup matches this season, but began making inroads quickly after Durham skipper Tom Latham had won the toss and chosen to bat in bright afternoon sunshine.
Opener Graham Clark had scored 13 when he came down the wicket and drove firmly at Ben Raine, only for the bowler to take a fine one-handed catch at the second attempt.
Gareth Harte and Michael Richardson took the score on to 74, but Harte was always struggling to time the ball, and on 35 tried to work a straight delivery from Tom Wells into the leg side, missed and was given leg before.
Latham went in the same over, the New Zealand international facing just three balls before edging a Wells’ off-cutter to wicketkeeper Lewis Hill, and when Michael Richardson, hampered by a hamstring injury, was dismissed in the same way by Richard Jones for 43, Durham’s prospects of setting a really testing target went with him.
The more so when the middle order failed to contribute, Zak Chappell’s second five over spell yielding the young Foxes’ fast bowler three wickets for just ten runs. Fine catches by Harry Swindells, at midwicket off Will Smith, and by Cameron Delport, at backward point off Mark Wood, sandwiched a fine delivery which uprooted Ryan Pringle’s leg stump.
Having been in danger of subsiding to their lowest List A score against Leicestershire (147), a ninth wicket stand of exactly 100 between debutant Ryan Davies and Barry McCarthy ensured the visitors avoided that ignominy by a distance. Davies, batting sensibly, reached his 50 off 49 balls before McCarthy’s attempt to step to the offside and scoop the ball over wicketkeeper Hill resulted in him losing his middle stump to Jones.
But Durham’s coach Jon Lewis bemoaned: “Ryan Davies did well today, he probably showed a few of the guys up the order how it should be done, so credit to him. We’ve struggled in the competition because we haven’t had a 50 out of an opener in eight games, so there’s been nothing to build on.”
An opening partnership of 93 between Delport and Horton, compiled in just 14 overs, meant Leicestershire were never under any real pressure in their chase, although the Foxes quickly lost another wicket when a misunderstanding with Delport ended with Raine being run-out at the non-striker’s end.
Delport and fellow South African Colin Ackermann added 109 for the third wicket before Clark, bowling his occasional leg-spin for the first time in List A cricket, bowled Delport with his first delivery.
Remarkably, Clark then had Ackermann caught behind four balls later, and when List A debutant Harry Dearden missed his attempted sweep and was also bowled two overs later, Clark had three wickets for just four runs. To the relief of the home support, Ateeq Javid and Tom Wells steered Leicestershire home without further alarm.