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Nixon inspires Leicestershire

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Paul Nixon

Paul Nixon strikes a vital 31 off just 17 deliveries to help Leicestershire beat Kent by three wickets and reach the finals day of the Friends Life t20

Leicestershire snatched a sensational three-wicket win against Kent to reach finals day in the Friends Life t20 for the fifth time.

The Foxes chased down a daunting victory target of 204, with veteran Paul Nixon, who has announced he will retire at the end of the season, hitting a rapid 31 off 17 balls in his farewell appearance at Grace Road.

Matthew Boyce then struck the winning boundary off the only ball he has faced in the competition this season to send Leicestershire supporters wild with delight.

Kent could hardly believe they had lost after a brilliant 91 from Azhar Mahmood and an unbeaten 63 by Martin van Jaarsveld took them to a total of 203 for three after they were put in to bat.

It looked more than enough to guarantee victory, with Leicestershire needing to score their highest 20-over total to win a game batting second.

Azhar was in magnificent form, scoring his runs off just 52 balls, with nine fours as well as four sixes.

He and van Jaarsveld shared a third-wicket stand of 130 off 63 balls as the home attack were struck to all parts of the ground.

The century partnership came up in just 49 balls, with van Jaarsveld reaching his fifty off 26 balls at the same time.

It took a magnificent catch by England prospect James Taylor to dismiss Azhar off Harry Gurney in the 20th over. But van Jaarsveld hit Gurney's final delivery for six, and the last five overs had brought Kent 73 runs.

Leicestershire opener Josh Cobb hit a rapid 18, including a straight six off Azhar, before skying a catch to midwicket, and when Will Jefferson fell cheaply with the total at 32 the home side looked to have an uphill task.

But with Andrew McDonald scoring 53 off 32 balls, and excellent contributions in the middle order from Jacques du Toit, Taylor and Abdul Razzaq, the Foxes kept themselves in the hunt.

When Razzaq was out for 27 off just 11 balls in the 17th over, it looked as though Kent had snatched back the initiative.

But Nixon’s late blast, with four fours plus a six off Azhar, left the Leicestershire needing only two off the last over for a remarkable win.

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