Leicestershire adventure over
Leicestershire’s faint hopes of reaching the Champions League T20 proper were dashed as they collapsed to a four-run defeat against Ruhuna of Sri Lanka in Hyderabad.
Such was the margin of the Foxes' opening loss yesterday, by 51 runs to Pool B winners Trinidad & Tobago, that they required an emphatic win today to have a realistic chance of progressing as the best runners-up from the two qualifying groups.
That they conceded 160 for six, underpinned by Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten 62 from 51 balls including six fours and two sixes, made their task harder. But they were well placed to overhaul that total with overs to spare at 81 for two after nine when opener Abdul Razzaq was going well.
However, Will Jefferson’s departure, lbw to off-spinner Alankara Asanka Silva, began a slide of six wickets for 69 runs inside 10 overs, including Razzaq for 68 from 46 deliveries, to dash Leicestershire’s hopes of winning this match, let alone participating in the main competition.
Andrew McDonald’s decision to field first was initially rewarded when left-arm seamer Harry Gurney removed both openers with slower balls. Sanath Jayasuriya advanced to be bowled and Mahela Udawatte was caught and bowled via a leading edge.
Chandimal and Kushal Janith Perera countered, the latter striking two fours and clearing the rope once before top-edging a pull off Razzaq to fine-leg on 19. The Pakistan all-rounder then had Janaka Gunaratne caught behind in the next over.
Chandimal continued to dominate and, after Milinda Siriwardana skied Claude Henderson to a backpedalling mid-off to go for 17, he was well supported by Shalika Karunanayake.
Karunanayake smote two fours and as many maximums en route to 28 before picking out point in the last over, a third wicket for Gurney, who claimed 3-33.
Josh Cobb gave Leicestershire the rapid start they required, twice clearing the boundary, but he departed to Arosh Janoda for 15 from six deliveries with a shot down the ground, TM Sampath juggling a one-handed catch.
McDonald kept the attack up with three fours in his 15-ball 24 until Silva had him stumped and then accounted for Jefferson in his next over.
Razzaq remained but James Taylor edged a cut at left-arm spinner Siriwardana and was caught behind off gloveman Chandimal’s pad.
Leicestershire’s victory hopes suffered a massive blow when Razzaq, who had matched Chandimal’s boundary count, top-edged Gunaratne to gift Chandimal another catch.
Three balls later Paul Nixon, playing his last professional match, was bowled attempting to sweep Gunaratne.
Silva and Gunaratne each had three wickets, eventually costing 29 and 27 respectively, when Wayne White miscued the former to point and Jacques Du Toit holed out to long-on.
Needing 10 from the final over, bowled by Chinthaka Perera, Henderson and Jigar Naik came up short.