Hall sets up seven-wicket drubbing
Northamptonshire 168 for 3 (O'Brien 94*, Hoggard 2-35) beat Leicestershire 162 (Taylor 69, Hall 5-22) by seven wickets
Captain Andrew Hall took five wickets and wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien smashed 94 not out as Northamptonshire began their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign with a seven-wicket demolition of Leicestershire at Wantage Road. Hall turned in figures of 5 for 22 as the Foxes were bowled out for 162 in just over 35 overs, with only James Taylor's explosive 69 off 61 balls providing any resistance.
Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien then smashed an unbeaten 94 off 63 balls, including 14 fours and four sixes, as the Steelbacks comfortably reached their target with 59 deliveries to spare.
Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bat but they got off to an awful start as they lost Paul Nixon in the first over when he edged Hall to O'Brien for a five-ball duck. Hall struck again four overs later when he pinned Jacques Du Toit lbw for 15 and Josh Cobb went for the same total when Lee Daggett clipped his off stump.
Wayne White added just a single when he was trapped leg before by Daggett to leave the Foxes struggling on 61 for 4. Taylor then crashed his way to his half-century off just 40 balls but 17-year-old Shiv Thakor, making his limited-overs debut, made just 13 before pulling David Lucas to Mal Loye at deep fine-leg.
Having batted well in reaching 69, Taylor then went softly when he launched Hall high into the air and was easily caught by Alex Wakely at square leg. Claude Henderson went for one when he was bowled by Hall's yorker before wicketkeeper Tom New (20) was snared by his opposite number O'Brien off David Willey.
Nadeem Malik was then bowled by Willey and Hall wrapped up his five-for by skittling Nathan Buck to wrap up the innings.
Chasing 163, the Steelbacks lost Loye in the ninth over for 11 when he was trapped lbw by Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard. But a 50-run partnership between Stephen Peters and O'Brien put the hosts back in control with O'Brien completing a brilliant half-century off 44 balls.
Peters made it to 34 before he was out caught and bowled by Henderson to break a second-wicket stand of 75 and Wakely (15) went when he smashed Hoggard straight to White at point. Eventually, the winning runs came in the 31st over and inevitably it was O'Brien who had the last word when he hammered Henderson for six over midwicket.