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Foxes let golden chance of T20 win slip away

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Make no mistake about it – Leicestershire Foxes let a golden chance to get their Friends Life T20 campaign off and running slip through their hands on Saturday.

A 24-run defeat by the Derbyshire Falcons looks fairly conclusive, especially in T20 terms.

But Leicestershire will surely feel that they ought to have banked the points.

A target of 174 was never going to be easy, but having powered to 95-2 at the halfway stage, the game was there for the taking.

There was no need for heroics or risk-taking in the second half of the run chase, but the Foxes simply fell apart and were dismissed for 149 in the 19th over, spelling disappointment for the bulk of a decent crowd at Grace Road. Those supporters must have been starting to sense a home win, too.

The Foxes had bowled well in the closing stages of the Falcons innings to prevent them posting a huge total which, when the visitors stood at 133-1 with five overs remaining, looked a distinct possibility.

They were held back by some good work from seamers Anthony Ireland and Robbie Williams and, despite a top score of 83 from opener Wes Durston, the Falcons might have felt they were 15 or 20 runs short.

That was certainly the feeling around the ground as Foxes' skipper Josh Cobb launched into the early bowling and the runs came at a torrent.

In an exhilarating start, Cobb blazed 47 runs from just 26 deliveries as his side romped past 50 in just five overs.

Though he went for one shot too many and was caught in the final powerplay over, County had set the foundations to go about a successful run chase, particularly as Niall O'Brien and Joe Burns continued to score at a healthy rate following the loss of their captain.

The second-wicket stand was worth 33 when O'Brien failed to connect with a sweep and was bowled by off-spinner Dan Redfern.

There wasn't even any great need for panic when Shakib Al Hasan, attempting to hit Albie Morkel over mid-off, was brilliantly caught by the diving David Wainwright to leave the score on 97-3.

Burns and Matthew Boyce appeared to have recovered the situation with a useful stand of 22, but then the innings went into a steep, rapid decline.

After Boyce was bowled trying to force the slow left-arm of Wainwright through midwicket, the Foxes plunged from a winning position of 119-3 in the 13th over to a desperate 124-7 with just five overs remaining.

Critically, Burns was one of the wickets to fall and, though it wasn't evident at the time, victory hopes had followed him back to the pavilion. Momentum, that key word in T20, had deserted the home side and there was no time to rebuild as excellent spells from Wainwright, with three wickets in half-a-dozen deliveries, and Redfern (2-24) drained the life from the Foxes batting line-up.

Ireland and Nathan Buck both clouted impressive sixes late in the day but it was too little, too late and County's desire to press too hard on the accelerator pedal in mid-innings had cost them dear.

Foxes let golden chance of T20 win slip away


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