Leicestershire 222 for 5 (Eckersley 80, Hill 68*) beat Derbyshire 219 (Hughes 96*, Klein 3-46, Griffiths 3-44) by five wickets
Leicestershire kept their slim hopes of qualification for the final stages of the Royal London Cup alive with a comfortable five wicket win over Derbyshire at the Fischer County Ground.
Half-centuries from Ned Eckersley, Lewis Hill and Cameron Delport saw the Foxes home after seamers Gavin Griffiths and Dieter Klein had each taken three wickets in restricting the Falcons to a score that always looked well under par on a good Grace Road pitch, despite a fine unbeaten 96 from Alex Hughes.
Put in after losing the toss, Derbyshire quickly lost opener Ben Slater, caught behind after edging an airy drive at a wide delivery from left-armer Klein. Fellow opener Billy Godleman was superbly caught by Mark Cosgrove, diving to his left at second slip after edging an attempted back foot drive at Clint McKay, and Griffiths up-rooted Shiv Thakor’s off-stump with a full delivery that seamed back in.
In the circumstances the Falcons could have done without the misunderstanding which left both Wayne Madsen and Hughes stranded in mid-pitch before Madsen was run out.
Jeevan Mendis and Hughes set about rebuilding the innings, adding 69 for the fifth wicket before Mendis, shortly after having somehow slog-swept Rob Sayer for six while taking his bottom hand off the bat handle, tried to lift the off-spinner over mid-off and gave McKay an easy catch.
Darren Smit and Luis Reece came and went quickly, but Matt Critchley also gave Hughes solid support in adding 55 for the eighth wicket before Critchley was bowled off his pads by Klein.
Ben Cotton’s dismissal, well caught by Hill diving to his right behind the stumps, left Hughes stranded on a List A career best.
Leicestershire also lost an early wicket, the in-form Mark Pettini edging Hardus Viljoen’s first ball to Hughes at second slip, but Delport hit his fellow South African for a big straight six as he and Eckersley added 76 for the second wicket.
A superb catch by Smit, standing up behind the stumps to the medium pace of Thakor, ended Delport’s innings, and when Cosgrove and then Aadil Ali followed in short order, the Foxes were wobbling.
With plenty of overs in hand, however, Eckersley and Hill could afford to play sensibly before accelerating, bringing up a century partnership in 16 overs. Eckersley was run out by Madsen with just two runs needed, but Hill saw his side over the line with ten overs in hand.
Leicestershire must still beat Yorkshire in their final match, at Headingley on Tuesday, and hope results elsewhere go in their favour, to qualify for the knock-out stage of the competition. Derbyshire cannot now qualify, but Leicestershire will be hoping their East Midland neighbours do them a favour by beating Worcestershire, also on Tuesday.
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