Warwickshire cruised to victory over a poor Leicestershire side who looked resigned to losing their sixth match in a row. The Bears now go into their final Royal London group game against local rivals Worcestershire pretty well assured of reaching the knockout stages.
Had it not been for a feisty stand of 104 between Mark Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann, Leicestershire would have failed even to reach their inadequate total of 207.
In reply, Jonathan Trott cruised to an almost inevitable hundred, reaching 10,000 List A runs in the process. He might have been at more risk had he taken a stroll in nearby Cannon Hill Park. At least there he might have been attacked by an angry mallard or splattered by a passing pigeon.
As it was, the Leicestershire bowling offered little threat and, with Sam Hain and Ed Pollock giving Trott support, victory was achieved by 9 wickets and with 12.3 overs to spare.
In pursuit of the poor Leicestershire score, Warwickshire set off at a sprint.
As a left-handed dasher, Ed Pollock looks like a cross between past Warwickshire openers Neil Carter and the legendary Bob Barber. He rattled up 33 out of an opening stand of 50 with four fours. He also hit a lofted six backward of square leg off Zak Chappell before the young Leicestershire paceman bowled him.
Chappell, in whom Warwickshire recently expressed an interest, certainly has pace. At present, he looks like a poor man’s Olly Stone but at age 21, he still has plenty of time to develop.
There was an air of inevitabilty about proceedings as the young and old masters, Sam Hain and Jonathan Trott shared an apparently risk-free stand, built around judiciously placed shots and an eye for the quick single.
The Leicestershire ground fielding had several lapses, suggestive of a side that knew that it had no future in the competition. Substitute fielder, ex-Bear Ateeq Javid, showed more energy in the outfield than the rest of the team put together.
Trott and Hain shared an unbeaten stand of 159. Trott’s 102, his second hundred in three days, occupied 121 balls with nine fours. Hain’s 68 with five fours took his competition average over 100.
Back at the start of the day, Leicestershire won the toss and decided to bat on a perfect day for playing and watching cricket. They featured six players born in the Southern hemisphere, twice as many as the home side and six more than the number actually born within the county.
Despite the massive rainfall in Birmingham in the past week, groundsman Gary Barwell and his team had somehow managed to produce a true pitch with some genuine pace and carry.
Keith Barker showed his appreciation by htting Cameron Delport on the helmet; and the even pacier Olly Stone induced a flat-footed flash from Leicestershire captain Paul Horton that resulted in a comfortable slip catch by Ian Bell.
Neil Dexter soon lobbed a return catch to Stone. Delport retaliated by hitting Stone for four boundaries in an over. But he then sought to pull Barker and skied him to backward square leg where Henry Brookes initially mis-judged the catch but eventually held it with a dive that made it look like a much better effort than it really was.
At 31-3, Leicestershire were in deep trouble; but Mark Cosgrove and Ackermann built an excellent stand. They added 104 in just 17.2 overs with some well-selected strokeplay. There were a few close shaves, including a couple of near run-outs from direct hits but, on the whole, the pair were relatively trouble-free until Cosgrove got a leading edge to Keith Barker and was caught at mid-off. His excellent 60 came off 58 balls with ten fours.
As Leicestershire reached 150 and looked to have achieved a good recovery, Ackermann also reached fifty. He biffed Aaron Thomason over mid-on with a flat-footed blow. But in attempting to pull the same bowler, he mis-timed and was caught by Olly Stone for 57. He had struck seven fours in his 68 ball knock.
From there, it was pretty much downhill all the way for the Leicestershire innings. Lewis Hill tried to make room to play Thomason out on the off side and was lbw, Tom Wells played across a straight one from Jeetan Patel and Zak Chappell mishit Thomason to short mid-wicket. Thomason injured himself in the process so was unable to bowl the last two balls of his spell. 3-45 was an excellent return for the young all-rounder.
When Olly Stone and Henry Brookes each knocked out stumps to bowl Dieter Klein and Callum Parkinson, Leicestershire were all out for 207 with nearly seven overs unused. Stone finished with 3-44.
Even at this point, the match looked as good as over and so it proved.
While Leicestershire retreat back to the East Midlands, Warwickshire have a few days in which to prepare for their clash with local rivals Worcestershire.