Stokes keeps Durham's quarter-final hopes flickering
Durham 120 for 5 (Stokes 41*, Taylor 4-11) beat Leicestershire 119 for 7 (Thakor 42, Rushworth 3-19) by five wickets
Ben Stokes and Gareth Breese propelled Durham to a third successive win in the Friends Life Twenty20 against Leicestershire at Chester-le-Street.
Coming together on 56 for 5 in the 13th over in pursuit of Leicestershire's modest total of 119 for 7, they shared an unbroken stand of 64 runs in 5.4 overs to see their side to a five-wicket win with two overs to spare.
After hitting five sixes in each of the two previous wins, Stokes hammered three more in his unbeaten 41 off 26 balls and Breese made 24 off 15.
With one group game left at home to Derbyshire on Sunday, Durham still have a slim chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Leicestershire now have no hope of progress.
Their defeat was tough on allrounder Rob Taylor, who raised their hopes after a feeble betting performance by taking 4 for 11 in four overs of accurate left-arm swing.
Durham scored only six runs in four overs in the middle of their innings and it was when Anthony Ireland was guilty of a fumble at long-off that the floodgates opened. It allowed Stokes to go back for a second run and he hit two of the next four balls from Shakib Al Hasan for six over long-on and backward square leg. In the next over he pulled Shiv Thakor for six, while Breese produced some clever improvisations in hitting four fours.
After being put in Leicestershire did not get going at all until Taylor and Ned Eckersley scored 23 off the last two overs. Chris Rushworth's opening burst of 3 for 10 in three overs stifled Leicestershire, who were indebted to England Under 19 allrounder Thakor for holding things together with 42 off 38 balls.
He hit one four and a six over long-off, otherwise there were only two boundaries in the innings until Eckersley hit Stokes for four and six in the final over.
Phil Mustard's fine form at the start of the competition has deserted him since Durham started winning and in the second over of the reply he drove at an away-swinger from Ireland and edged to Joe Burns at slip.
Acting captain Mark Stoneman fell for 12 when he drove Taylor to cover, then Will Smith was caught behind and Scott Borthwick clipped a catch to midwicket in to end a good innings of 30. Taylor also had Gordon Muchall lbw, but once his spell was finished Durham cut loose.