Leicestershire 186 for 4 (Handscomb 60, Mulder 51*) beat Yorkshire 184 (Coad 45, Salisbury 3-28) by six wickets
Leicestershire Foxes wrapped up their Metro Bank One-Day Cup group fixtures with a six-wicket victory over Yorkshire Vikings at Grace Road – but they will have to wait until Tuesday to know whether seven wins from eight will be enough to take them directly to a home semi-final as Group A winners.
Hampshire’s win over Surrey means they can still equal Leicestershire’s points tally by beating Kent in a home fixture on Tuesday, which would leave net run-rate to determine the final placings. Whoever finishes second will have to first win a home quarter-final next Friday to stay in the competition.
The Vikings risked a more humbling defeat until a ninth-wicket stand of 75 between Dom Bess (40) and Ben Coad (45) – career-best List A scores for both – rescued Yorkshire from 91 for eight, but the defeat combined with Lancashire’s win at Lord’s ends their chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages via a top-three finish.
Wright had Yorkshire on the back foot from the start by reducing them to 24 for three in eight overs after Leicestershire had to rethink their bowling plans with two of their leading competition wicket-takers – Josh Hull and Tom Scriven – sidelined with a stomach bug.
After the Foxes had won the toss, Wright had Harry Duke caught behind as he under-edged a ball outside off stump before Shan Masood and Will Luxton departed from consecutive balls, the left-handed Masood squared up a little and taken at slip, the right-handed Luxton comprehensively bowled by one that seemed to come back sharply.
Until the Bess-Coad fightback, losing regular wickets stymied Yorkshire’s attempts to build momentum. Salisbury, first change at the Bennett End as Wright took a breather with figures of three for 12, struck with his third ball as Fin Bean played across one that thudded into the front pad.
Bean and James Wharton built something of a platform, adding 36 in seven overs, but the Vikings stalled again after Bean’s dismissal, losing Wharton to a catch at deep midwicket followed by George Hill, who pushed at one from Salisbury to be caught behind.
Salisbury picked up a third wicket when Ben Mike, facing his former team-mates, was leg before to a delivery that kept a touch low before Will Davis – on his first 50-over call-up of the season – had Matthew Revis caught at short midwicket.
With no front-line spinner to call on with Rehan Ahmed, Callum Parkinson and Colin Ackermann all attached to Hundred franchises, skipper Lewis Hill stuck with his five seamers, but Bess and Coad looked comfortable until Bess, attempting to paddle-scoop Wiaan Mulder, shovelled the ball into the gloves of wicketkeeper Handscomb.
Hill finally turned to Louis Kimber, a part-time spinner but one who had a four-for with his off-breaks in this competition last year. Kimber took only three overs to claim the last Yorkshire wicket, beating Coad’s expansive swing for Handscomb to execute a stumping.
It had not looked like a pitch conducive to clean hitting, yet openers Rishi Patel and Sol Budinger perhaps understandably chose not to deviate from the aggressive approach that had brought between them 673 runs in the competition.
It backfired this time as both were out inside the first 15 balls of the Foxes innings, Patel miscuing George Hill to mid-on before Budinger, aiming to smear Coad over midwicket, was caught by wicketkeeper Duke after the ball left his bat vertically.
Handscomb and Hill adopted a more cautious policy but after a dozen overs of pushing the scoreboard along steadily at a required rate of just over 3.5 runs an over, Hill was given out leg before trying to work a ball from Coad.
The scoring rate went up sharply when Handscomb was joined by Mulder, bringing two in-form batters to the crease. After Aussie Handscomb completed his fifth half-century in the competition so far, adding a pull for six off Mike to four boundaries, Leicestershire were 110 for three after 25 overs, needing 75 to win in the second half of the innings.
Dom Bess broke their partnership when Handscomb went to turn him down the leg side and feathered a catch through to Duke but Mulder soon completed his fourth fifty in the competition off 73 balls with five fours before Kimber hoisted Jack Shutt’s off spin for six over midwicket and then hammered the winning boundary off Mike.