Birmingham v Leicestershire, NatWest T20 Blast, North Group, Edgbaston June 19, 2015

Umar Akmal keeps Leicestershire flying


Leicestershire 164 for 3 (Akmal 52*) beat Birmingham 160 for 5 (Ambrose 66) by seven wickets

Umar Akmal cracked 52 not out of 38 balls and sealed victory with a four © Getty Images

Umar Akmal scored an unbeaten half-century as Leicestershire put a brake on Birmingham's NatWest T20 Blast hot streak with a comfortable seven-wicket win at Edgbaston.

Birmingham were hunting their fifth successive win in the North Group and posted a solid total of 160 for 5 thanks mainly to Tim Ambrose's third T20 half-century, a well-judged unbeaten 66 from 54 balls with seven fours and a six. But Leicestershire bounced back from the previous night's defeat at Derby to reach 164 for three with nine balls to spare.

Mark Cosgrove laid the platform with a blistering 44 from 23 balls and then Niall O'Brien and Umar Akmal saw them home with an unbroken stand of 93 in 70 balls.

After Birmingham chose to bat, Leicestershire struck two big blows early. Varun Chopra lifted Olly Freckingham to cover and Ian Bell's blistering form in this season's tournament (128 from 89 balls in two innings) was ended by a brilliant catch by Tom Wells. Bell was looking dangerous again on 19 from 13 balls and hit Clint McKay's first two balls for four but then drove the next to mid-off where Wells flung himself to his right to make the catch.

That was Leicestershire's last success for a while as William Porterfield and Ambrose built the innings' only partnership of substance. They added 80 from 58 balls before the former fell to another fine catch by Wells, this time at long-off.

Laurie Evans scratched around for 13 and could drop out next week when Brendon McCullum makes his debut. But Ambrose kept working the ball around skilfully, though young left-arm spinner Jamie Sykes distinguished himself with four tight overs for just 23.

Leicestershire got off to a flier, reaching 50 in the fourth as Cosgrove fed voraciously on some overpitched bowling. The Australian raced to 44 from with seven fours, one six before falling lbw to Jeetan Patel's fifth delivery.

That was 71 for 3 and Birmingham sensed an opportunity to start a collapse but O'Brien and Akmal played it perfectly. Under no pressure to go for big shots they milked the bowling as the Foxes won at a canter, Akmal notching a half-century on his farewell appearance as stand-in overseas player for Kiwi star Grant Elliott who will return next week.

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  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2015, 14:17 GMT

    Umar Akmal another Domestic Or league star produced by pakistan <3

  • Syed Ali Raza Gilani on June 20, 2015, 17:20 GMT

    gud Luck Umar Akmal Jaldi se team pakistan mein wapis aa jao

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 12:03 GMT

    brilliant umar akmal ! should skip cpl for county (t20 and 4 day)

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 11:51 GMT

    Umar Akmal is a great player and is wasted by PCB especially by Waqar Younis. He should open the innings in T20s and in ODIs also. He is very aggressive player. If he opens the innings ,he will destroy the opponents. Want him back in Pakistan team.Love u.akaml

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 9:50 GMT

    Sykes 4 overs 22 runs 1 wicket Baine 4 overs 27 runs 1 wicket How come baine got man of the match? Okay they didnt want to give it to umar akmal who made only 50 for his team. Then logic is to give it to sykes. then they say T20 Blast failing to get overseas players.

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 7:46 GMT

    "Umar Akmal keeps Leicestershire flying" .... Yeah, right.! Now let's give the man of the match award to some random player other than Akmal. #WhatLogic #Pathetic

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 6:43 GMT

    A supreme performance by excellent player

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 5:24 GMT

    He should have stayed here and tried to get a full county contract. He really needs that at this stage of his career rather than playing meaningless T20 franchise tournaments.

  • Dummy4 on June 20, 2015, 4:45 GMT

    Umar Akmal is Sehwag kind of a player and he is totally wasted in the Pakistani team. He is not someone who can bat at No:5 . He is T20 and One Day opener like Viru who can give rollicking start to the team. Otherwise, he must bat down the order at 6 or 7. But he is not a temperamental batsman to bat in the middle order and by asked him to do that he is caught on two minds and he is a wasted talent for Pakistan.

  • Ismail on June 20, 2015, 3:38 GMT

    Yea why didnt umar akmal get MoM

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