Coach Mike Newell directs anger at top order as Nottinghamshire defeated by Leicestershire

Mick Newell.
Mick Newell.

Director of Cricket Mick Newell castigated his top order after the Notts Outlaws failed to chase down a target of 280 and left their chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the Royal London Cup depending on results elsewhere.

“You have to look at the first 30 overs of our innings, not the last 20,” said Newell. “You have to look at the top six or seven batsmen, none made 50, that’s where the match was lost, and that’s really disappointing given the importance of the game.”

Needing 95 to win off the last ten overs, a brilliant half-century from List A debutant Luke Wood, made off just 29 balls, kept the Outlaws in the hunt, but the young all-rounder was yorked by Cameron Delport in the final over the match, leaving the last pair of Harry Gurney and Luke Fletcher too much to do.

“Luke had a fine game, and it’s good to have him available again after injury, but the senior players left him far too much to do,” said Newell.

“Now we need to beat Worcestershire on Monday and for other results to go our way.”

Leicestershire’s innings began badly after Mark Pettini won the toss and chosen to bat.

The Foxes’ captain lost his opening partner to only the ninth ball of the innings, left-arm seamer Luke Wood striking in his first over of his first List A match with a swinging delivery which found the edge of Paul Horton’s bat as the experienced former Lancashire man drove at the ball without real conviction.

Wood also picked up a wicket in his second over, another swinging delivery beating Kevin O’Brien and knocking out the Ireland international’s off-stump, and when Luke Fletcher had Lewis Hill caught behind with a delivery which bounced and left the young right-hander, the Foxes were struggling on 27-3.

South Africa one-day international Cameron Delport looked in good form, however, hitting eight fours in going to 46 off 45 balls and adding 58 with Pettini before shuffling across his crease to Samit Patel and being given leg before wicket after missing a delivery which turned back into him.

Pettini, playing the anchor role, had just reached his 50, from 77 balls, when he tried to turn Steven Mullaney into the leg-side and succeeded only in lofting a simple catch to Rikki Wessells at midwicket.

Niall O’Brien began the acceleration, the left-hander driving the ball sweetly through the offside and hitting nine fours in a run a ball 82, and with Michael Burgess carving 36 from 32 balls and Rob Sayer contributing a useful 26 off 19, the Foxes reached what they hoped would be a competitive score.

The manner in which Michael Lumb started the Notts reply suggested it could be well short of that, the left-hander stroking four powerful boundaries through the off-side in the opening overs. Foxes’ seamer Ollie Freckingham adjusted his line, however, and was rewarded when Lumb drove hard at a delivery without getting to the pitch of the ball and edged to O’Brien behind the stumps.

Rikki Wessells and Brendan Taylor had taken the score past 50 when Wessells thick-edged at attempted drive at the medium pace of Ben Raine high to Rob Sayer at deep point, and Samit Patel came and went quickly, bowled by a Kevin O’Brien delivery which seamed back and hit leg stump.

Dan Christian’s arrival at the crease was greeted with a certain amount of dread by Leicestershire supporters, Christian having smashed 54 off just 16 balls in the T20 match between these sides at Trent Bridge on Friday night, but the Australian could not repeat his destructive innings. He did hit a couple of effective blows, but on 12 tried to force a Kevin O’Brien delivery off the back foot into the off side, and saw Delport hold a chest high chance at the second attempt.

Taylor’s dismissal by Raine, bowled off the inside edge, ensured the Outlaws innings continued to mirror that of the Foxes. Mullaney, very much in form after a List A career best against Yorkshire at Scarborough in the Outlaws’ previous match, looked very much in control in going to 30 before missing with an uncharacteristically wild - and unnecessary - heave across the line at Freckingham.

Greg Smith’s dismissal, leg before attempting a reverse sweep at the off-spin of Sayer, looked to have ended the game, but Wood hit out magnificently to keep his side in the game until the final over.

The result means Leicestershire themselves, who went into the game bottom of the north division, could still qualify for the quarter-finals. However they too will need to win their remaining game, against Derbyshire at the County Ground, and hope results elsewhere go in their favour.