Finn puts Foxes to the sword
England fast bowler Steven Finn took three wickets in seven balls as Middlesex beat Leicestershire by 31 runs in the Clydesdale Bank 40 clash at Grace Road.
Finn's burst sent the Foxes sliding to 49 for five as they chased a victory target of 242, and they were finally dismissed for 210 to give the Panthers their second win in three games.
Finn, part of England’s initial 13-man squad for the first Test against West Indies, finished with 3-30 from eight overs.
Ned Eckersley, who hit 46 off 44 balls and Wayne White, with 34, led a Foxes recovery with a stand of 66 in 12 overs, but it was not enough to prevent their third defeat in four games.
Finn bowled Ramnaresh Sarwan for 19, had Matthew Boyce out in the same over and then trapped Greg Smith lbw.
White and Eckersley's partnership gave the home side some hope but once they had gone in the gathering gloom, it was all over for the Foxes, despite an unbeaten 27 from Nadeem Malik.
The Panthers innings was paced perfectly. Openers Joe Denly and Dawid Malan gave them a solid start with a stand of 56 in 12 overs and Neil Dexter led the charge for runs at the end with 54 not out from 41 balls.
All the top order batsmen made scores of 20 or better, but only Dexter went onto reach a half-century.
Eoin Morgan, playing his first game since returning from the Indian Premier League, struggled to time the ball on a slow-paced pitch and made 25 off 38 balls, before being brilliantly caught at cover by White off Josh Cobb.
Denly fell to an even more spectacular one-handed catch by wicketkeeper Eckersley off Rob Taylor, and the young left-arm seamer also had Malan lbw.
But Dexter and Gareth Berg took the initiative with a fifth-wicket partnership of 70 in eight overs. Berg bludgeoned 43 off 31 balls, straight-driving a massive six off Claude Henderson and hitting four fours.
Dexter's innings contained seven fours and 68 were runs were taken from the final six overs as Leicestershire’s bowlers toiled.