Gutsy Durham sneak narrow win
Durham 187 for 5 beat Leicestershire 184 for 8 by 3 runs
A disciplined bowling performance enabled Durham Dynamos to claim their second Friends Life t20 victory in the space of three days and move a giant step closer to a quarter-final place. Despite appearing all but beaten at the halfway stage of their opponents' innings, Durham rallied impressively to claim a three-run victory over Leicestershire Foxes.
Needing to hit a boundary off the final ball of the game, Leicestershire's Claude Henderson could only roll the ball back to bowler Mitch Claydon, who had earlier claimed two wickets in his first over.
Leicestershire, who finished on 184 for 7, looked like securing their second victory in as many days when former Durham University student Will Jefferson hammered 63 runs from 30 balls. However, after Jefferson was trapped leg before to Dale Benkenstein's first delivery of the afternoon with the score on 113 for three, the visitors quickly lost their momentum.
Liam Plunkett removed both Jacques Du Toit and Abdul Razzaq in the very next over, and the Foxes' lower order were unable to keep up with a run rate that eventually sailed to more than 10 an over. Durham's innings of 187 for 5 was a collective effort, with the first five batsmen in the order all scoring 18 runs or more.
Opener Gordon Muchall was the linchpin, equalling his best ever T20 score as he made 64 runs off 50 balls before holing out during the final over of the innings. Muchall has cemented his place in the Durham side for all forms of the game this season, and his collection of eight boundaries included an eye-catching square cut off former England international Matthew Hoggard that brought up his half-century.
Muchall received support from a number of quarters, with Phil Mustard and Ian Blackwell both scoring 25 as Durham compiled their runs at a steady rate. Blackwell was particularly destructive, reverse sweeping Henderson for four before producing a more orthodox sweep to claim a six off the South African's very next ball.
Benkenstein and David Miller also contributed to Durham's sizeable total, with the former cracking 23 off 15 balls just two days after top-scoring in Friday night's emphatic victory over Lancashire. He eventually fell going for a shot too many off Hoggard, but while the Leicestershire skipper finished with two wickets, he was unable to stem the flow of Durham runs.