Malik to the fore for Foxes
Pace bowler Nadeem Malik took four wickets as Leicestershire Foxes claimed a 12-run win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Friends Provident t20 at Wantage Road.
Australia all-rounder Andrew McDonald top-scored with 49 off 35 balls for Leicestershire, who posted 149 for eight in a match reduced to 18 overs per side by rain.
Sri Lanka seamer Chaminda Vaas was the pick of the Northants attack, taking 2-24 from four overs, but Malik bettered that with 4-25 as the hosts were restricted to 137 for nine.
Mal Loye’s 39 was the most significant contribution to an innings that crumbled from 106 for three as Northants lost six wickets for 22 runs in less than four overs.
Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bat first, but the heavens opened 25 minutes before the scheduled start, forcing a 50-minute delay and the loss of four overs’ play.
When the players did emerge, the Foxes got off to a shocking start when Jacques Du Toit was run out off the first ball.
Former Australia all-rounder Brad Hodge was then stumped for 16 by Niall O’Brien off Nicky Boje, and ex-England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon also made 16 before he was bowled by Steelbacks captain Andrew Hall.
Vaas claimed two wickets in the 13th over as Will Jefferson found Loye at point and James Taylor offered a return catch.
McDonald, who smashed two sixes in his entertaining innings, departed when he launched Boje to Vishal Tripathi at deep cover, while James Benning was caught by Boje at midwicket off Hall.
Claude Henderson hammered 32 off 14 balls, including three massive sixes, but he lifted Lee Daggett to long-on in a final over that cost 19.
Northants lost Niall O’Brien for nine in the second over of their reply when he was superbly caught at point by Taylor off Harry Gurney.
Rob White made 13 before hitting Matthew Hoggard to Jefferson at midwicket, and Henderson took out Boje’s middle stump to reduce the hosts to 73 for three.
Northants needed to score at 10 an over for the last five overs but, although Hall made 27 off 18 balls, he had his leg stump removed by Malik to spark the collapse.
Malik repeated the trick to account for Loye before Alex Wakely launched him to McDonald at long-off, Vaas smashed Malik to Jefferson at long-on and James Middlebrook was taken at extra cover by Taylor off Hoggard.
Tripathi was comfortably run out by Taylor from deep midwicket in the final over as Northants came up short.