Hall and O'Brien propel Northants
Northamptonshire captain Andrew Hall claimed five wickets as his side began their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign with a seven-wicket demolition of Leicestershire at Wantage Road.
Hall picked up 5-22 from 7.1 overs - his first five-for in domestic List A cricket - as the Foxes were bowled out for just 162 in only 35 overs.
James Taylor was the only batsman to provide any resistance for Leicestershire with an explosive 69 from 61 deliveries.
His efforts were then superseded by Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien, who smashed an unbeaten 94 off 63 balls, including 14 fours and four sixes, to guide the Steelbacks to victory with 59 deliveries to spare.
Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bat but they got off to an awful start as they lost Paul Nixon in the first over.
The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman edged Hall to O’Brien to depart for a five-ball duck and the South African all-rounder struck again four overs later when he trapped Jacques du Toit lbw for 15.
Josh Cobb fell for the same total when he was bowled by Lee Daggett, who then removed Wayne White for a single, but Taylor held firm and brought up his half-century from just 40 balls.
Teenager Shiv Thakor made 13 on his limited-overs debut before pulling David Lucas to Mal Loye at fine-leg and Taylor’s fine innings was then brought to an end in tame fashion as he skied Hall to Alex Wakely at square-leg.
Hall yorked Claude Henderson for one soon after and wicketkeeper Tom New was caught by his opposite number O’Brien off David Willey after making 20.
Willey also accounted for Nadeem Malik before Hall wrapped up the innings by bowling Nathan Buck.
The Steelbacks lost Loye in the ninth over for 11 when he was trapped lbw by Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard.
But a partnership of 75 between Stephen Peters and O’Brien put the hosts back in control and the latter continued to prosper after his partner was caught and bowled by Henderson for 34.
Wakely also departed when he smashed Hoggard straight to White at point, but it was not long before O’Brien finished the match in style by hammering Henderson for six over midwicket.