Royal London Cup – Brett Hutton’s seven-for trumps Chris Wright’s six as Notts keep Leicestershire waiting

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Nottinghamshire 255 for 9 (Wright 6-35) beat Leicestershire 154 (Hutton 7-26) by 104 runs (DLS method).

Seamer Brett Hutton returned the best List A figures in Nottinghamshire’s history, taking 7 for 26 as the Outlaws recorded a victory which keeps them in with an outside chance of qualification for the knock-out stages of the Royal London Cup.

Notts need to win their final group game, against Surrey at Welbeck on Tuesday, and hope results elsewhere go in their favour after Hutton bettered the efforts of another experienced seamer, Leicestershire’s Chris Wright, who had picked up his own List A career-best return of 6 for 35. The Foxes must now beat Durham at the UptonSteel County Ground in their final game to ensure they qualify.

The previous day’s results, which saw wins for both Sussex and Middlesex, meant Leicestershire went into the game in third place in Group A with ten points, the same number as both their southern rivals but with a markedly inferior run rate, albeit they had a game in hand on table topping Sussex.

Nottinghamshire, on six points, knew they had to win both their remaining games well to have any chance of qualification.

The Foxes had suffered a blow coming into the match, when left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks, their leading wicket-taker in the competition, was revealed to have received a short-term but – presumably – lucrative deal with the Hundred, joining the Southern Braves squad as short-term injury cover.

In response head coach Paul Nixon sprang a surprise of his own, drafting former Cheshire left-arm seamer MIchael Finan into his side. Finan was signed by Leicestershire on Friday, after a series of impressive performances, both for his county and for Yorkshire 2s.

Handed one of the new balls after Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bowl, the 26-year-old suffered a harsh introduction to professional cricket, Sol Budinger thumping him to the off-side boundary several times as he conceded 30 from his opening three overs, but Wright, initially operating from the Bennett End, was a very different proposition.

Budinger had already been dropped off Wright, horribly by Hill at mid-off, when Ben Slater tried to cut a delivery that was too close to him, could not keep the ball down, and saw Rishi Patel take a neat catch two-handed to his left at backward point.

Budinger did not make the most of his escape, having his bails trimmed by a Wright out-swinger soon afterwards, and when Lyndon James top-edged an attempted pull at Wiaan Mulder into the hands of Finan at long leg, Notts were 63 for 3 and struggling.

Needing to consolidate and build a platform, Hameed and Matthew Montgomery did just that, eschewing risk and accumulating nicely, and taking the score on to 156 at the end of the 29th over, at which point a seepage of water from a drainage culvert at the far side of the square was noticed. Somehow it took the best part of 40 minutes for the problem to be dealt with, following which the umpires decided to reduce the match to 47 overs, with an appropriate DLS alteration once Leicestershire began their reply.

Montgomery and Hameed looked to accelerate, but the demise of Montgomery, caught by Hill at mid-off off a skier having reached his 50 at a run a ball, left Hameed having to marshal the tail. Liam Patterson-White hung around, but he, Fateh Singh, Dane Schadendorff, Hutton and Dane Paterson all fell in the space of 11 runs being added. Last man Toby Pettman did all he could to see the captain through to three figures, but Hameed, though he had his opportunities, could not harness the strike sufficiently, and was left on 99 not out.

The total looked no more than par on a decent hybrid pitch, but Hutton’s opening burst left it looking more than enough. Patel and Hill looked less than impressed at the decisions with saw them given out caught at point and behind the wicket respectively, but the in-form Louis KImber was bowled second ball off the inside edge and Nick Welch palpably leg before, in both cases to the ball nipping back off the seam.

Leicestershire looked to Mulder, and as he has so often in this competition, the South African responded, playing beautifully, first in partnership with Swindells and then with Arron Lilley, in dragging the Foxes back into contention.

Mulder’s run-a-ball half century was his fourth, to go alongside a century, in his seven Royal London Cup innings, but Swindells gave Patterson-White a simple return catch and when Lilley holed out off Hutton to deep square, Slater taking a fine diving catch running in from the boundary, even Mulder’s head dropped. Barnes, Davis and Wright came and went quickly, and Hutton had the final word when a delivery kept low to castle Mulder.

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