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Hain keeps Birmingham in contention

Birmingham 187 for 7 (Hain 57) beat Leicestershire 157 for 8 (Rankin 3-26, Thomason 3-33) by 30 runs
Scorecard

Birmingham boosted their hopes of qualifying for the NatWest T20 Blast knockout stages with a 30-run win over Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Sam Hain struck 57 off 35 balls as the Bears recovered from a shaky start to post 187 for 7 after they were stuck in. Boyd Rankin and Aaron Thomason then each took three wickets and Jeetan Patel was at his economical best to restrict the Foxes to 157 for eight.

The win moved Birmingham level on eight points with Leicestershire, who slipped to their second consecutive defeat, in the North Group.

Young opener Ed Pollock, who had hit 66 off 40 balls on debut against Derbyshire in the previous game, was stumped by Luke Ronchi for 5 from a clever piece of bowling by left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson. Then Ian Bell, having lofted one straight four, tried to repeat the shot against Clint Mckay and skied high to Tom Wells at mid-off.

But having been struggling on 23 for 2 off four overs, Hain and Will Porterfield took 29 off the last two overs of the Powerplay, with the latter hitting the offspin of Colin Ackermann for two sixes.

Hain was fortunate to survive on 21, when Gavin Griffiths dropped a straightforward caught-and-bowled opportunity, and it was to prove an expensive miss by the Foxes.

Porterfield was also caught by Wells, at long-on off Parkinson, having added 63 with Hain off just 39 balls, but Hain went on to a half-century from just 28 deliveries. His presence enabled Colin de Grandhomme and Grant Elliott to hit out to good, if brief, effect.

Mat Pillans, expensive in his early overs, came back well to pick up the wickets of Thomason and then Hain, but Keith Barker and Alex Mellor compiled an unbroken partnership of 43 for the eighth wicket to ensure the visitors went into the break having maintained the initiative.

On a flat pitch, a run-rate of 9.3 looked attainable, and 32 came off Keith Barker's opening two overs. But Leicestershire's top order found Rankin harder to get away, and Cameron Delport could not clear mid-on.

Mark Cosgrove looked in wonderful touch before wastefully carving Thomason's gentle medium-pace to Birmingham captain Bell at extra cover to go for 22. Patel bowled Ackermann and the writing was on the wall when Thomason bowled Ronchi for 27.

Wells and Pillans added 53 for the seventh wicket, but it was a case of steering the Foxes' score towards respectability as Patel conceded just 17 from his four overs.