A determined partnership between two well-experienced Foxes men and a tail end that knows how to wag was not enough to see Leicestershire through the mammoth task that was set before them by Durham. The North Easterners’ years of experience and talent with the bat came to the fore today, as they piled on the runs to reach their third highest total in one day cricket.
The visitors showed a completely different side to their batting than the one we saw last night and, although they once again lost the toss and were put in, put together a total of 340 runs for their 50 overs.
Unfortunately, their bowling was not on par with the batting and the visitors only took the win by 11 runs.
Leicestershire’s task was a big one and they started carefully. Too carefully, in fact, making only 9 in the first 5 overs, and once the openers Mark Pettini and Neil Dexter had been removed found themselves 26-2 by the end of the 8th over.
Mark Cosgrove and Kevin O’Brien were valiant in their attempts to bring some respectability to the chase. Making a partnership of 115 runs for the third wicket, they laid the foundation for an exciting chase that brought Leicestershire tantalisingly close to victory.
Cossie’s wicket came when he got a little too comfortable, having hit Scott Borthwick for 6, 2 and then 4, he tried for another and found himself landing in the rarely failing hands of Paul Collingwood. He had added 63 to the cause.
It then came down to the ostentatious O’Brien brothers to add some curry to the chase. And curry it certainly did add. The partnership reached 72 before Niall played one of his risky high balls and picked out Borthwick at long-off.
Kevin’s innings of 89 runs off 84 balls was nothing short of superb, showing his usual disdain for any loose bowling and Durham gave him plenty of that. He had to go, though, when he got carried away and hit Harrison directly to Keaton Jennings. Harrison was the pick of the Durham bowlers, finishing today with 4-40, so it seemed only fitting that is was he who removed the pick of the Leicestershire batting.
If Kevin O’Brien had set the platform, he was more than ably supported by the Foxes’ deep batting line up. Through the host’s middle order, all of the batters contributed something and surely Durham must have been worried for a while.
Ultimately, though, the runs required were too many and the wickets were too few. Leicestershire gave a brave attempt and were really only beaten by the sheer heft of the total.
Said total had come earlier in the day largely courtesy of a superb opening partnership between Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard. The pair gave a first wicket partnership that sides dream about, reaching 180 off just under 28 overs before Mustard was caught off the bowling of Kevin O’Brien for 88.
Stoneman finished with an excellent 93 before Rob Taylor, who was the best of the Leicestershire bowlers with 4-58, took a return catch. Borthwick added 63 before being another of Taylor’s victims.
The runs appeared to dry up some for the visitors and we saw a display of quality bowling from Taylor and Clint McKay. Collingwood will have been disappointed with his wicket, as he found himself slashing a McKay slower ball to Cosgrove at point and had to walk for a paltry 9.
A resurge in runs saw Durham finish with their huge total and in the end it would be enough. They should be as concerned as Leicestershire will be disappointed, though, because it was only just enough