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Leicestershire toast McDonald

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Andrew McDonald

A fifth half-century of the competition for Andrew McDonald helped Leicestershire overhaul a modest target with some ease

Leicestershire tightened their grip on second place in the Friends Life t20 North Group by beating closest challengers Worcestershire by six wickets at New Road.

The Royals did well to reach 130 for seven after their top order misfired, but it was not enough to stretch the visitors as Andrew McDonald topped 50 for the fifth time in the competition this season.

The Australian all-rounder shrugged off the loss of two partners in the opening powerplay and lifted the tempo with Will Jefferson, who made 16, in a stand of 45.

McDonald was particularly hard on 17-year-old paceman Aneesh Kapil – his only over went for 16 – and the game was running away from Worcestershire before their international spinners could make an impact.

Jefferson was caught behind off Saeed Ajmal and McDonald drilled Shakib Al Hasan to cover after hitting five fours and a six in his 53, but James Taylor, with 22, and Abdul Razzaq, who made 16 not out, saw Leicestershire home with 15 balls to spare.

Worcestershire lost their top five batsmen in reaching 42 - four of the wickets were shared by new-ball pair Harry Gurney and Matthew Hoggard - and only nudged past 100 thanks to Gareth Andrew's third unbeaten fifty in t20 cricket this year.

Although restricted to five fours, Andrew again used his long-handled, short-bladed bat to good effect in making 54 not out from 42 balls, mostly in a seventh-wicket stand of 60 in nine overs with Ben Scott.

Scott was run out for 22 in the final over, a sacrifice that put Andrew back on strike to complete his fifty.

The manner of Worcestershire's early collapse was a surprise to those who expected a used pitch to be low and slow.

Instead, there was pace and unreliable bounce as Hoggard and Gurney roughed up Worcestershire's strokemakers.

Vikram Solanki edged a near-unplayable lifter from Gurney and Hoggard, after being shovelled over fine-leg for six by Alexei Kervezee, claimed the wickets of Moeen Ali, caught at mid-on, and Shakib, cutting to backward point.

In between those dismissals Gurney removed Kervezee with a well-judged catch by Claude Henderson at fine-leg, while Josh Cobb ran out James Cameron from mid-off after a mix-up with Shakib.