sport

Foxes on course for last eight

Leicestershire kept alive their hopes of a quarter-final place with a 16-run Duckworth-Lewis method victory over Worcestershire in the Royal London Cup Group A game at Grace Road.

Put into bat on a bowler-friendly pitch after rain delayed the start by two and a half hours, Worcestershire totalled 202 for nine off 34 overs.

That was down to a second-wicket stand of 104 between Daryl Mitchell and Tom Fell, who both hit half-centuries, while Leicestershire's young all-rounder Shiv Thakor took four wickets for 49 - his best figures in limited-overs cricket.

The Foxes made a steady start to the chase, reaching 45 in eight overs for the loss of Niall O'Brien (23) and Angus Robson (13). Greg Smith (34 not out) and Matt Boyce (nine not out) took the hosts to 93 for two off 15.4 overs before a torrential downpour brought an end to proceedings.

The abandonment handed the hosts a 16-run win which meant that, if they beat Lancashire in the final game at Old Trafford next week, they will clinch a place in the last eight.

It certainly looked a good toss to win as Worcestershire's openers struggled to lay bat on ball during the first seven overs.

Charlie Shreck bowled two maidens and conceded only three runs in four overs and Anthony Ireland was equally frugal to restrict the visitors to just 14 runs at the end of the powerplay.

And when Ollie Freckingham, playing his first game of the season following an injury lay-off, flattened Tom Kohler-Cadmore's middle stump with the score 18 in the eighth over, the Foxes were in the driving seat.

But gradually Mitchell and Fell gained control with an excellent partnership of 104 off 106 balls. Fell began the momentum change by taking three consecutive boundaries off Freckingham on his way to 50 off 45 balls. He survived a difficult chance to Thakor off Ireland when he was on 42 and the same bowler then saw him put down by Scott Styris on 57.

Mitchell played a more subdued role in the stand making 41 off 70 balls before holing out to mid-on to give Shreck a well-deserved wicket in the 26th over. That was the start of a remarkable last nine overs which saw 80 runs scored for the loss of eight wickets.

Four of them went to Thakor, including the vital one of Fell who was snapped up by wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien flashing a delivery outside the off stump. Fell made 73 off 61 balls with 12 fours.

Shreck then sent Gareth Andrew's middle stump cartwheeling as Worcestershire chased quick runs in the second powerplay of three overs. They scored at a rate of 13 an over but also lost three wickets.

Thakor struck again, bowling Ross Whiteley for 22 with a full toss and having Alexei Kervezee caught at mid-off without scoring.

And when Ben Cox popped an easy catch to Shreck at short fine leg off Thakor, it gave 20-year-old all-rounder four wickets for the first time in limited-overs cricket.

A breezy unbeaten 27 from Joe Leach took Worcestershire past 200, but it was not enough to keep them in the competition.

Leicestershire director of cricket Phil Whitticase was delighted with the result and the chance to progress in the competition.

"Duckworth-Lewis worked in our favour this time but I thought it was a good effort by our batters to have us well ahead of the rate when the rain came," he said.

"It is nice to have our fate in our own hands and know that, if we beat Lancashire at Old Trafford next Thursday, we will be in the quarter-finals."