Leicestershire 198 for 8 (Lilley 60, Patel 54, McAlindon 4-29) beat Durham 197 (McAlindon 50, Mulder 3-28) by two wickets
Contrasting half-centuries from Rishi Patel and Arron Lilley saw Leicestershire complete a nervy victory over Durham and qualify for the knock-out stages of the Royal London One Day Cup.
It needed an unbeaten ninth wicket partnership of 30 between bowlers Beuran Hendricks and Eddie Barnes to see Leicestershire home, the two points securing second place in Group A and a home play-off for the semi-finals on Friday.
Put into bat on a hybrid pitch being used for the second time in four days, Durham were quickly in trouble. Graham Clark, scorer of a half century in each of his two previous innings, looked to cut a delivery from Chris Wright, but steered the ball low towards backward point, where Patel dived forward to take a smart low catch. Jonathan Bushnell was also caught by Patel, this time a rather more comfortable chance given off the leading edge, but Sean Dickson may have been unfortunate to be given out leg before to a Wiaan Mulder delivery which cut back and may have been missing leg stump.
There were no question marks over the dismissal of Liam Trevaskis, bowled by a Wright delivery that swung back into him, before former Australia international Nick Maddinson, having battled his way to 20, limply hung out his bat at Hendricks and feathered a catch behind to wicket-keeper Harry Swindells.
The next delivery saw the end of Tom Mackintosh, again somewhat unlucky to be given out off a Hendricks lifter that appeared to come off his shoulder rather than his bat before looping gently to Patel, and when acting captain Paul Coughlin drove airily at a Mulder out-swinger and edged to Swindells, Durham were 54 for 7 in just the 20th over.
It was down to the young tail to drag them towards any sort of score, and this they did admirably. Seventeen-year-old Mitchell Killeen, son of former Durham stalwart Neil, led the way, hitting 32 off 52 balls and putting together a half-century partnership with George Drissell before going back to pull a delivery from occasional off-spinner Louis Kimber that stayed low, sliding underneath his bat and hitting him in front of all three stumps.
Drissell, having gone to 30, holed out to long off, but not before putting on another 44 for the ninth wicket with McAlindon, and McAlindon himself then reached a maiden half-century, the highlight consecutive sixes off Scott Steel, before being caught and bowled in the final over of the innings. The final three wickets of the innings realised 143 runs.
Leicestershire made the worst possible start in their chase, Rushworth pinning Nick Welch leg before with his first delivery. Steel, making his first appearance of the season in the competition, was then bowled by Rushworth off a thick inside edge, and when the in-form Louis Kimber spooned a simple catch to mid-on, the home crowd’s silence was deafening. Captain Lewis Hill came and went quickly, cutting at a wide one from McAlindon and giving a simple catch behind, and soon afterwards Mulder, who has to some extent carried Leicestershire’s batting in the competition, was well caught by Maddinson high to his left as he failed to get over a cut at McAlindon.
Swindells, back on his stumps, was plumb leg before two balls later, but Patel, who had come in first wicket down, batted with real responsibility, and with Lilley riding his luck massively, put together a partnership of 98 for the seventh wicket. They were helped by some curious decisions by Coughlin, most notably that to give an over to occasional left-armer Maddinson – that solitary over cost 15 runs, and handed the initiative to the home team.
Both Patel and Lilley went on the same score, Patel caught at mid-on and Lilley behind the wicket, but Hendricks and Barnes held their nerve to see the Foxes home.