Cricket

Rob Keogh hundred gives Northants spoils in basement battle

Northamptonshire 290 for 6 (Keogh 102, Curran 69) Leicestershire 261 for 9 (Mike 41, Buck 3-44) by 29 runs

A century from Rob Keogh was the highlight as Northamptonshire defeated Midlands rivals Leicestershire more comfortably than the winning margin suggested in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon in the North Group of the Royal London Cup.

Keogh’s fifth-wicket partnership of 156 with Ben Curran saw his team recover from 104 for 4 off 25.2 overs to post a record score for the Steelbacks against the Foxes in List A cricket.

Leicestershire struggled throughout their reply, and there was no way back for the Foxes after Nathan Buck, a former Leicestershire player, picked up the wickets of Lewis Hill and Colin Ackermann, who had added 47 for the Foxes’ fourth wicket, in the same over, though the tail fought bravely to bring respectability to the scoreboard in the final 20 overs.

Alex Wakely’s decision to bat first after winning the toss looked questionable after Northants lost two early wickets, openers Ricardo Vasconcelos bowled by a quick in-swinging delivery from left-arm seamer Dieter Klein, and Richard Levi caught at mid-off after attempting to drive a length delivery from Mohammad Abbas.

It could and should have been worse for the visitors, Josh Cobb being badly dropped by Harry Dearden, on 1, and then by Ben Mike, on 2, in both cases off the bowling of the unfortunate Klein. The allrounder, formerly of Leicestershire, might also have been run out on 16, but Harry Swindells missed the stumps with Cobb well out of his ground.

Wakely, by contrast, played fluently in going to 36, but missed a sweep at left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson and was given out lbw before Cobb’s luck ran out when he was on 43, Foxes triallist George Munsey taking a smart one-handed catch above his head.

At 104 for 4 the innings was very much in the balance, but Keogh and Curran batted intelligently in compiling a partnership of 156 for the fifth wicket. Avoiding unnecessary risks, they worked the ball into gaps in the field and ran hard, with Keogh hitting only two fours in reaching his half-century off 56 balls, Curran four boundaries in reaching his, off 55 deliveries.

Thereafter they accelerated impressively and although Curran was eventually run out for 69, Keogh’s second 50 took just 28 balls before he holed out to long-off off Abbas the ball after reaching the second List A century of his career.

Leicestershire’s reply began badly. Vasconcelos took a fine catch behind the wicket, diving to his right as Dearden inside edged an inswinger from Ben Sanderson, and the Yorkshirman struck again when another full inswinger saw Munsey dismissed leg before.

Mark Cosgrove, on 11, shuffled down the wicket, swung across the line at a straight delivery from Luke Procter, missed and was bowled, but Hill and Ackermann had begun to look threatening when Hill pulled a short ball from Buck straight into the hands of Brett Hutton at deep square leg.

Two balls later Ackermann contrived to glove a slow leg-side bouncer from Buck, Vasconcelos diving forward to hold the catch, and though there were good late efforts from Tom Taylor, Mike and Parkinson, the Foxes never really looked capable of chasing down their target.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1183218.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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