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August 21, 2014
Lancashire 185 for 2 (Smith 54, Reece 54) beat Leicestershire 184 (Cobb 58, Kabir 3-26) by eight wickets
Kabir Ali took three wickets to help knock Leicestershire out of the Royal London Cup. Bowled out for just 184, Leicestershire slipped out of the top four in Group B with an eight-wicket defeat and victory for Derbyshire.
A win for Leicestershire guaranteed them a place in the quarter-finals but they were never really in the hunt to do so. Having elected to bat, they were hurt by losing their last seven wickets for 59 runs in 90 balls to slip from 125 for 3 in the 29th over to 184 all out inside 44.
By contrast Tom Smith and Luis Reece shared 97 to notch Lancashire's best 50-over opening stand of the summer and they never looked back as Karl Brown also finished just one short of his own 50. It meant Lancashire, who were without a win in the 50-over competition, warmed up for Saturday's NatWest T20 Finals Day by winning with 20 overs to spare.
Defeat left Leicestershire hoping that both Northamptonshire and Derbyshire would lose but Derbyshire's victory over Gloucestershire ended their slender hopes.
Kabir led the way for Lancashire upon his return from just over three weeks out with a right shoulder injury, taking 3 for 26 from nine overs with one wicket in his first five over spell and two in his second. Scholarship seamer Tom Bailey and experienced all-round duo Tom Smith and Steven Croft all added two wickets apiece.
Only two Foxes players made it beyond 24. Opener Josh Cobb, also returning from a three-week injury lay off, hit 58 off 77 balls and Dan Redfern added 43 off 52 from number five in the order. The Foxes were a long way under par on a ground where 320 plus was scored by Yorkshire and Hampshire at the start of the competition.
Thanks in the main to Cobb, who pulled the only six of the innings over deep midwicket off Smith, they had built a decent platform at 91 for 2 ahead of the 20th over. But with the introduction of spin duo Croft and Stephen Parry, they lost three wickets in 16 overs for the addition of 59 runs, going 76 balls without a boundary between the 20th and 33rd overs.
Lancashire were able to start their innings seven overs before tea and reached 33 without loss. Smith and Reece brought up their 50 partnership in nine overs, with Smith clubbing Charlie Shreck over long-on for six. He later hit James Sykes' left-arm spin over for cover for his second six on the way to 50 off 45 balls but perished caught at long-on to the same bowler.
Reece brought up his first half-century of the campaign in first-team cricket in the 22nd over by hammering Sykes for a straight four, but he fell in the next for 54 off 61 balls after he tried to slog sweep Jigar Naik's offspin and was caught at deep midwicket with 133 on the board.
Karl Brown finished with 49 not out off 53 in an unbroken third-wicket stand of 52 inside eight overs with his captain Paul Horton. Lancashire's victory helped lift them off the bottom of the table in place of Hampshire.
After the defeat, Leicestershire coach Ben Smith said: "Unfortunately tonight, whether it was the pressure of the big game or the ability of the players, we fell short.
"The two guys that got themselves in and got themselves out are at fault really as the players who got out at the wrong time. Because we lost wickets at intervals, we were never really in a position to kick on. That's what really hurt us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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