Leicestershire fall short despite Taylor ton
Warwickshire 272 for 8 beat Leicestershire 247 by 25 runs
Warwickshire Bears strengthened their grip at the top of the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C table with a 25-run victory over Leicestershire Foxes, despite a brilliant unbeaten century and career-best bowling figures from James Taylor.
Warwickshire opener Neil Carter laid the foundations for the Bears' win with the third limited-overs century of his career, scoring 101 out of their challenging total of 272 for 8. Then Taylor launched a spectacular one-man bid for victory, hitting a blistering 103 off 95 balls, reaching three figures off the last delivery of the match to post his career-best limited-overs score.
Earlier, he took four wickets for the first time with his occasional leg-spin bowling, but, ironically, his final over went for 21 runs, giving him figures of 4-61 in six overs. The Bears were able to plunder 56 runs off the last five overs, and, in the end, that proved to be the difference between the two sides.
The total always looked a little too much for the Foxes to chase, but Taylor's superb innings kept them in with a chance until the final few overs. By then, the run rate had climbed beyond their reach, and all that remained was for the 20-year-old to reach his century, which he did with a boundary off the last ball of the match from Carter.
His century included eight boundaries plus two superb sixes, but there was no one else able to really take the game to the Bears. The next-highest scorer was James Benning, who hit 46 off 42 balls with seven fours and a six, while Matt Boyce contributed 33 down the order.
But the Bears' bowling was always good enough to keep the Foxes' innings under control, with Carter, Boyd Rankin and the impressive Keith Barker claiming two wickets each. The centrepiece of the Bears' innings was Carter's century, which came off 92 balls and contained 17 boundaries. He and Bears captain Ian Westwood shared a key partnership of 112 in 18 overs after the visitors had lost three wickets for 21 runs in seven overs.
Carter could have been out on 37, but survived a stumping chance as he came down the pitch to off-spinner Jigar Naik, and he made the Foxes pay for that slip-up.
Westwood was no slouch either, contributing 47 off 60 balls before being caught down the leg side by Joel Pope off the bowling of Dan Masters. But Carter reached his century with successive boundaries off Taylor, and was then bowled by the next delivery from the leg-spinner.
Although Taylor picked up three more wickets as the Bears' batsmen chased runs, it came at a cost, and when he was hit for two sixes and two fours in his final over, the Bears had piled up an imposing total.