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May 16, 2010
Scotland 218 for 6 beat Leicestershire 217 for 7 by four wickets
Scotland produced a stunning performance to send Leicestershire crashing to a four-wicket defeat in a nail-biting finish to their Clydesdale Bank 40 clash at Grace Road.
Chasing a victory target of 218 the Saltires reached it with two balls to spare, helped by half-centuries from George Bailey and Richie Berrington. But it was Neil McCallum who clinched the victory for the Saltires in their opening game of the campaign, hitting 27 off 19 balls with two boundaries plus a massive six off Matthew Hoggard's final ball of the 39th over.
The defeat was Leicestershire's third in a row in Group C after they had started the season with an impressive victory over Nottinghamshire. For Scotland the win signalled a welcome return to form after they failed to reach the world Twenty20 finals, losing all three of their group qualifying games.
They fully deserved the success over the Foxes, producing a solid all-round team performance after losing the toss. Their bowlers restricted the home side to a below par total of 217 for 7 despite conceding 20 wides in a total of 25 extras.
But they still managed to contain the home batsmen with only Jacques Du Toit and James Taylor really finding any form, both of them scoring half-centuries as they shared a second wicket stand of 105. Du Toit reached his 50 off 70 balls with three fours and a six before trying one big hit too many to be caught on the long-on boundary off the bowling of Ryan Watson.
Taylor, whose half-century came off 68 balls, was then run out with a direct hit on the stumps from Watson with the total at 141 and from that point on the Foxes were unable to put any real pressure on the Scotland attack.
Paul Nixon made a run-a-ball 34 but there was little support for him and with Gordon Goudie claiming three for 45 Scotland could be happy with their work in the field. And they did just as well with the bat, staying up with the asking rate after being given a steady start by Gavin Hamilton and Watson.
Bailey and Berrington gave the middle of the innings a boost with their half-centuries with Bailey reaching his off 67 balls and Berrington taking only 51 deliveries for his 50. When both were out in the closing overs it looked as though the Foxes might edge home but McCallum shattered those hopes with his breezy innings at the death.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough