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Leicestershire 157 for 9 (Mulder 54, Tye 5-38) beat Durham 106 (Coughlin 22, Ahmed 4-22, Parkinson 3-16) by 51 runs
Rehan Ahmed notched career-best figures as Leicestershire Foxes gave their Vitality Blast campaign a vital boost with a 51-run win over Durham in their clash at Seat Unique Riverside.
Wiaan Mulder was the key man with the bat for the Foxes, scoring 54 from 33 balls after the visitors appeared to be in danger at 80 for 6. The South African timed the ball to perfection with four boundaries and two sixes to elevate his team to a defendable total of 154 for 9 from their 20 overs.
Durham struggled throughout their chase and were always behind the rate, increasing the pressure in the middle. Ahmed tormented the home side with wrist-spin on a slow surface with figures of 4 for 22, while Callum Parkinson (3-16) and Mulder (2-16) were also on point to bowl their side to a victory that keeps the Foxes' hopes alive in the North Group.
After winning the toss, the Leicestershire innings began poorly with a miscommunication between Nick Welch and Harry Swindells that resulted in the latter being run out without facing a ball. AJ Tye put down Welch at square leg and then received treatment from Rishi Patel in his first two balls, being struck for a four then a six over long-on. However, the Aussie responded by dismissing Patel before Liam Trevaskis bowled Arron Lilly to reduce the Foxes to 42 for 3 at the end of the powerplay.
Welch upped the ante for the visitors, dispatching Nathan Sowter and Scott Borthwick for sixes in successive overs. But, Welch soon fell for 37 trying to turn Borthwick into the leg-side, offering a simple return catch. Tye kept up the pressure at the other end, removing Colin Ackermann and Lewis Hill, leaving the Foxes in trouble at 80 for 6 in the 13th over.
A stand of 44 from Mulder and Ben Mike rebuilt the Foxes' innings and pushed them towards a competitive total. Mulder produced an outstanding knock to score his fifth T20 half-century, drilling Tye for back-to-back sixes in the final over before being caught on the fence going for a third maximum in a row. Tye picked up his fifth wicket when Parkinson was caught on the fence, becoming only the sixth player to take a five-wicket haul for Durham in T20 cricket.
Durham lost Michael Jones early in their chase after being bowled through the gate by Parkinson, which would set the tone for the innings. Graham Clark and Ollie Robinson struggled to time the ball mustering only 35 in the powerplay. Ahmed's introduction brought about the end of Robinson from his first ball, with a return catch at the second attempt.
The leg-spinner prised out Clark, who could only pick out Mike on the fence from a full toss, before bowling Ned Eckersley first ball, putting the hosts into a world of trouble at 47 for 4. Durham needed a response from their skipper, and Ashton Turner tried to knock the ball around the pitch, but overbalanced attempting a sweep against Parkinson and was stumped by Swindells for 12.
Mulder then removed Ben Raine and Paul Coughlin, effectively ending the game. Ahmed returned to secure his fourth wicket by bowling Tye, completing a fine road performance to secure a comfortable win for the Foxes.