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Battling Durham move to the summit

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Ian Blackwell

Ian Blackwell made useful contributions with bat and ball as a below-par Durham recorded a 37-run victory over Leicestershire

Durham snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in today’s Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Leicestershire at the Emirates Durham ICG to move to the top of Group B.

After a week in which they lost to Hampshire in the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals and in the LV= County Championship, Durham were bowled out for 192 by Leicestershire and then saw their opponents romp to 72 without loss after 12 overs in reply.

However, spinners Ian Blackwell and Gareth Breese then picked up six wickets between them as the visitors were dismissed for 155 to hand Durham a 37-run victory.

When Leicestershire came to bat, they were hampered by the loss of key all-rounder Andrew McDonald, who suffered a knee injury after bowling five overs for 18.

With James Taylor, like Durham pair Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick, on England Lions duty, Leicestershire were already vulnerable in the batting department and Durham took advantage to keep alive their hopes of a semi-final place.

They now lead Surrey on net run-rate, although Rory Hamilton-Brown’s side have two games in hand.

The north-east county were all out with 17 balls unused today and were indebted to left-handed opener Mark Stoneman making 73 in his first one-day appearance of the season.

On his comeback from injury, Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard took 2-26. He persuaded Paul Collingwood to sky a catch to mid-off after making seven, while Blackwell miscued to cover after hitting three sixes in making 43 off 40 balls.

Going in at 66 for four, Blackwell gave the innings impetus with two sixes over midwicket in an over from off-spinner Jigar Naik.

In reply, Leicestershire looked to be coasting to victory until their opening stand of 72 ended when Josh Cobb sliced Callum Thorp to backward point to depart for 37.

It was the first of four catches for Collingwood, who held the other three at slip off the spinners.

Even at 117 for two the visitors were clear favourites, but two wickets fell on that total as Blackwell and Breese both bowled wicket maidens.

It was slow left-armer Blackwell who ended Jacques du Toit’s 65-ball innings of 56 to finish with 2-15 from eight overs.

Breese’s second wicket came when Wayne White, having hit 12 runs off the first five balls of an over, reverse swept the last one straight to backward point.

Veteran Jamaican Breese also took the last two wickets to finish with 4-21.