Hoggard helps end Northants' unbeaten run
Leicestershire 139 for 4 beat Northamptonshire 135 for 5 by six wickets
Three wickets from Leicestershire Foxes captain Matthew Hoggard helped his side begin their Friends Life t20 campaign with victory over the Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road.
The Steelbacks were restricted to 135 for 5 from their 20 overs, with South Africa international Johan Botha top-scoring in making 36 from 40 balls on his debut and Hoggard taking 3 for 21.
The Foxes had little trouble in meeting their target with six deliveries and six wickets to spare, as veteran wicketkeeper Paul Nixon made 44 from 47 balls to help inflict Northamptonshire's first defeat in any form of cricket this season.
Northamptonshire won the toss and chose to bat but they lost Rob White for just a single at the start of the second over when he launched Harry Gurney to Will Jefferson, who was waiting at third man. The Foxes attack restricted the Steelbacks to 22 for 1 in the opening Powerplay and Botha survived a scare on 4 when he was dropped by Jefferson at mid-wicket off Claude Henderson.
Chaminda Vaas had his middle stump sent tumbling by Hoggard before Botha then went very cheaply. He chipped Henderson straight to Hoggard, who took a straightforward catch at midwicket. James Middlebrook departed when former England bowler Hoggard's delivery flicked off his pad and on to his off stump.
Alex Wakely followed two balls later when he smashed the same bowler to Jacques du Toit at long leg after blasting 30 from 23 balls. Steelbacks captain Andrew Hall and David Willey survived the rest of the innings on 18 and 10 respectively as the hosts posted a target which looked attainable.
Chasing 136, the Foxes had an early setback when they lost Australia international Andrew McDonald for 6 in the third over when he was bowled by Hall. Jefferson was the next to walk when he was caught and bowled by Vaas, but the Foxes had already opened with a faster run-rate than their opponents had managed.
Josh Cobb clubbed 26 from just 15 balls before throwing his wicket away by hoisting Lee Daggett high into the air and White was waiting underneath it at mid-off. Nixon and James Taylor (36 not out) added 84 for the fourth wicket as they edged their way towards the target with minimal fuss.
With the scores level, Botha bowled Nixon before Du Toit hit a clinching boundary off the same bowler through mid-on from the only ball he faced.