Colin Ackermann, Lewis Hill batter Worcestershire into submission

Leicestershire 377 for 4 (Ackermann 152*, Hill 118, Dearden 91) beat Worcestershire 339 (Whiteley 131, Barnard 61, D’Oliveira 57) by 38 runs

An unbeaten 152 from Colin Ackermann, along with a remarkable 54-ball century from Lewis Hill, allowed Leicestershire to post their record List A score against another county and pull off a surprise Royal London Cup win against Worcestershire.

Having registered totals of just 166 and 233 with the bat in their first two matches, against Yorkshire and Durham, it looked as though another low score might be on the cards for the Foxes when, having won the toss and chosen to bat, they lost two wickets in the first over of the innings, bowled by Charlie Morris.

Paul Horton and Mark Cosgrove were both undone by swing, the right-handed Horton edging to slip before Cosgrove drove expansively and lost his off-stump.

The pitch was hard and flat, though, and Leicestershire’s young left-handed opener Harry Dearden took the initiative from the start, driving solidly and using his feet well against the seamers as he and Ackermann rebuilt the innings in style.

Dearden, whose 50 came off 46 balls, did enjoy some good fortune, most notably when he was dropped on 47, a tough caught-and-bowled chance to Ed Barnard, and on 62, a rather simpler opportunity put down by Daryl Mitchell at extra cover off Barnard.

His luck ran out when on 91 he chipped a simple catch to Mitchell at midwicket off Josh Tongue, having put on 170 with Ackermann, a third-wicket record for Leicestershire against Worcestershire.

In Hill, however, Ackermann found another productive partner. The Foxes’ wicket-keeper unveiled a range of innovative and unorthodox shots in racing to his 50 off 32 balls, and though he too was subsequently dropped twice, in both cases by Tongue when on 76 and 77, Worcestershire had already lost control.

While Ackermann continued to bat relatively calmly, going to his century off 110 balls, Hill was never still, moving around his crease, reversing his grip and constantly finding gaps in the field. His century included 14 fours and four sixes, and he and Ackermann had put on 200 off 20 overs when Barnard held a top edge off Hill, attempting to pull Tongue.

Early wickets were always likely to be key when Worcestershire began their reply and, with scoreboard pressure a factor from the start, the Foxes picked up four. Rikki Wessels edged Dieter Klein to Hill behind the stumps, a bouncing delivery he might otherwise have left, Tom Fell skied an attempted pull at Tom Taylor, Mitchell edged Klein to first slip, and Hamish Rutherford was pinned leg before by a quick Klein delivery that swung back in.

Brett D’Oliveira’s half-century began to drag the innings around, but it was Ross Whiteley who brought the match explosively back to life. The former Derbyshire all-rounder raced to his first List A century off just 68 balls, hitting eleven fours and two sixes, and putting on 116 with Ed Barnard before being bowled by a Will Davis slow ball for 131 off just 83 balls.

Even then Barnard continued to keep Leicestershire hearts in mouths until, with three overs remaining, he carved a Klein delivery high into the offside where Taylor held the catch.

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