Derbyshire’s Royal London Cup hopes still alive with win over Leicestershire

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Derbyshire kept their quarter-final hopes alive by thrashing local rivals Leicestershire by six wickets in a one-sided Royal London One Day Cup Group A match at Derby.

The Foxes were shot out for just 156 in 41 overs with Alex Hughes claiming one-day best figures of 3-31 and Shiv Thakor taking 2-28 against his former county.

Wes Durston followed his century against Surrey on Sunday with 80 from 65 balls and although Tillakaratne Dilshan went first ball on his Derbyshire return, the Falcons got to 159-4 with 19.1 overs to spare.

Thakor justified Derbyshire’s decision to bowl when he removed both openers in consecutive overs with Angus Robson playing on as he tried to run the ball to third man and Mark Cosgrove caught behind off an expansive drive.

Ned Eckersley and Aadil Ali were starting to rebuild when two more wickets in quick succession put the Falcons firmly in charge. Ali chopped Cork into his stumps and Eckersley was caught by Wayne Madsen leaping at extra cover when he sliced a drive at Hughes.

At 64-4, the Foxes were facing another batting crisis and their chances of making a competitive total were dealt a double blow in the 28th over.

Michael Burgess tried to cut the first ball from Hughes but edged it onto his stumps and Rob Sayer mistimed a drive and looped a simple catch to gully.

The last thing Leicestershire needed was a run out but that is exactly what happened when Ben Raine pushed the ball into the covers and set off for a single that was never there and was stranded by Scott Elstone’s return.

When O’Brien tried to steer Ben Cotton to third man and was caught behind off the last ball of the 37th over, the innings was beyond repair and the Foxes were in danger of being bowled out for under 150 when Clint McKay missed a pull at Matt Critchley.

Rob Taylor at least spared his side that ignominy when he launched Cork over long on for six but the innings ended when Atif Sheikh was lbw with nine overs remaining.

It had been a lamentable display with all of the top order getting into double figures but failing to adjust to the demands of a slow surface and Leicestershire’s only hope was to take early wickets.

When the first ball from Sheikh whistled down the leg side for five wides, the signs were not encouraging and the Foxes best chance of avoiding a fourth defeat was rain which arrived with the Falcons 24 without loss.

But it only delayed the game for 27 minutes and on the resumption, Durston engaged the turbo by driving and cutting Sheikh for four before pulling the former Derbyshire seamer behind square for six.

After another sharp shower, Raine ran into bowl under a rainbow but the outlook for Leicestershire was gloomy as Durston reached a 35 ball 50 by sweeping Sayer for six.

Taylor bowled Billy Godleman and Dilshan with consecutive balls, McKay trapped Madsen lbw and Durston carved Sheikh to third man with 15 needed but it was not enough to save Leicestershire from a fourth defeat.

Durston said: “It was a very comprehensive performance from winning the toss to finishing the game off and everything we’ve done has been very professional. We had to win today to give ourselves a chance in the last two games and we’ve deservedly got two points.”

Cosgrove admitted: “When you only put 156 on the board in a one-day game, it’s unlikely to be enough and the top order probably let the side down. If you look through the scorecard, everyone got a start but someone’s got to put their hand up and go on from there and if one of the top three or four don’t get a big score, you’re going to struggle in one-day cricket.”