Vaas sparkles for Steelbacks
Chaminda Vaas hit a rapid half-century and took two vital wickets as Northamptonshire Steelbacks beat Leicestershire Foxes by 10 runs in their Friends Provident t20 clash at Grace Road.
Northants posted 166 for four after the game had been reduced to 18 overs a side because of rain, with Nicky Boje and Andrew Hall sharing an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 82 off just 38 balls.
Despite a fine 53 by Will Jefferson, Leicestershire were unable to reach their target as they crashed to their third defeat in five games and their second at home.
It was Northants’ third win in a row after two early losses in the competition, and they owed much to the all-round ability of Sri Lankan Vaas.
Opening the batting, he responded with a half-century off 35 balls that included eight sweetly-struck boundaries to give Northants the perfect start.
Then, after they became bogged down in the middle of the innings, Boje and Hall swung the game their way with some dramatic hitting in the final overs.
Boje made an unbeaten 54 off 30 balls, with nine fours and a six, and Hall gave him fine support with 29 not out off 18 balls, hitting four fours and a six.
It was a blistering response after the visitors had slipped to 84 for four in the 12th over.
A total of 62 runs came off the last four overs, which proved decisive to the outcome.
For much of the time, Leicestershire were well up with the required run-rate, Jefferson and James Taylor giving them real hope of their first t20 win at home this season by sharing a partnership of 72 in nine overs for the third wicket.
Taylor looked in fine form, making 38 with a six and four fours before pulling a David Willey full toss to square-leg.
But the all-important wicket of Jefferson was claimed by Vaas, who trapped him leg before as he played across the line. He had faced 35 balls and struck seven fours.
Leicestershire needed 16 off the final over for victory, but Hall made sure they got nowhere near it, conceding just five runs and taking the wicket of Wayne White with his final delivery. He finished with 1-30 and Vaas 2-24.