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July 8, 2011
Leicestershire 151 for 8 beat Derbyshire 150
Leicestershire Foxes snatched a dramatic victory against Derbyshire Falcons at Grace Road to clinch a home tie in the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20.
Chasing a target of 151, the Foxes scored 89 runs from the final 10 overs to win by two wickets with one ball to spare. James Taylor led the way with 53, turning the game the Foxes' way when he hit three sixes in four balls.
Derbyshire had looked favourites for the victory when left-arm spinner Chesney Hughes took career-best figures of 4 for 23 in his four overs, as the home side slumped to 91 for six with only five overs to go.
But Taylor turned the game on its head by pulling Steffan Jones for a six over mid-wicket and then clearing the ropes twice more in the next over, bowled by Mark Turner. The over brought the Foxes 19 runs, leaving them to score 18 off the final two overs for victory.
Taylor was caught at long-on off the bowling of Jones, ending his 31-ball innings, but Jacques Du Toit saw the Foxes home by hitting 22 off 15 balls, including three boundaries. Leicestershire's fifth win in a row in the competition cemented their position in second place in the North group. They cannot be caught and will definitely have a home match in the quarter-finals.
Having won the toss, Leicestershire skipper Andrew McDonald decide to bowl first and Derbyshire were bowled out for 150 in 19.4 overs thanks to some accurate bowling and sharp fielding.
Abdul Razzaq, Harry Gurney and Jigar Naik claimed three wickets each as the Derbyshire batsmen struggled to gain any momentum. Greg Smith top-scored for them with 36 off 35 balls before being brilliantly caught and bowled by McDonald.
But the Foxes then lost their last five wickets for 12 runs in the last three overs of their innings with Razzaq taking three for 12, Gurney 3 for 34 and Naik 3 for 27. The Foxes made a brisk start, reaching 37 in five overs before McDonald had a rare failure in the competition and chipped a catch to mid-wicket off Jones for 15.
His departure seemed to rock the home side's confidence as wickets fell steadily before Taylor's brilliant innings swung the momentum back Leicestershire's way ahead of an exciting finish.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?