One-Day Cup: Leicestershire beat Hampshire in final-ball thriller to end wait for 50-over trophy


Leicestershire wicketkeeper Harry Swindells struck a magnificent unbeaten 117 to help his side post 267-7 from their 50 overs; Hampshire, led by half-centuries from Tom Prest and Liam Dawson, came up two runs short in a dramatic run chase

One-Day Cup: Leicestershire beat Hampshire in final-ball thriller to end wait for 50-over trophy

Leicestershire won their first one-day final for 38 years, beating Hampshire by two runs to lift the Metro Bank One-Day Cup in a thrilling finish at Trent Bridge.

Leicestershire wicketkeeper Harry Swindells had marked his first appearance in this season’s competition with a magnificent unbeaten 117 – his first century in limited-overs cricket.

Swindells and Sam Evans, both Leicester-born, were the Foxes’ unlikely heroes, sharing a seventh-wicket partnership of 151 with Evans posting a maiden List A half-century in only his third appearance of the campaign.

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They rescued Leicestershire from 19-4 four and 89-6 after opting to bat first to set the 2018 champions a target of 268 to win.

Hampshire, for whom Keith Barker and Scott Currie took three wickets each, ran them close, with half-centuries from Tom Prest and Liam Dawson, but ultimately came up short after needing eight off the last over.

One-Day Cup: Leicestershire beat Hampshire in final-ball thriller to end wait for 50-over trophy

At that point, 19-year-old left-arm pace bowler Josh Hull – Leicestershire’s most expensive bowler on the day – holding his nerve when it mattered to concede just five runs and take his second wicket to see the Foxes home.

It is Leicestershire’s first trophy since lifting the 2011 Twenty20 Cup and their first in List A cricket since David Gower’s side beat Essex to win the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1985.

Man of the moment Swindells, 24, was called up only because Australia international Peter Handscomb, the Foxes’ preferred glove man in this year’s 50-over competition, had to return home after the semi-final to prepare for his own domestic season.

After appearing in just two group matches, 25-year-old Evans replaced injured seam bowler Matt Salisbury in the XI after the Foxes opted to stick with the squad who had helped them reach the final rather than draft in 19-year-old England all-rounder Rehan Ahmed, who was available.

The Foxes’ calamitous start came after Barker and Ian Holland had put their all into exploiting early overcast conditions.

One-Day Cup: Leicestershire beat Hampshire in final-ball thriller to end wait for 50-over trophy

Rishi Patel prodded nervously outside off stump to be caught behind in the opening over before Sol Budinger, unable to contain his aggressive instincts even with the new ball consistently beating his bat, skied one to be caught at cover.

Colin Ackermann, whose unbeaten 93 was the match-winning innings as the Foxes beat Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl in the group stages, was caught low down at midwicket, before South African all-rounder Wiaan Mulder, with five half-centuries to his name in the competition, was beaten on the inside to be leg before without scoring as Barker claimed his third scalp.

Hints of a recovery were extinguished when Louis Kimber swung with anchored feet at a ball from Currie and was caught behind. Hill, having played nicely for his 42, departed after an injudicious slash at Currie – currently a team-mate in red-ball cricket on loan to Leicestershire – gave ‘keeper Ben Brown a third catch.

At 89-6, it was hard to see the Foxes posting anything like a competitive score – until Swindells and Evans stepped up in their county’s hour of need.

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After pushing ones and twos to ensure that spinners Mason Crane and Liam Dawson did not impose a mid-innings squeeze on top of the earlier carnage, they loosened their to score at above eight an over before Evans, a maiden half-century under his belt in only the sixth List A match of his career, miscued to deep point for an 84-ball 60.

Swindells, who had twice cleared the rope at wide long on off Barker, kept up that momentum in the last couple of overs, completing his 90-ball hundred by hoisting one over Barker’s head for his seventh four, finishing off with an uppercut over backward point for his third six and a four over long-off as Currie conceded 17 off the final over.

Hampshire lost openers Fletcha Middleton and Nick Gubbins in posting 41-2 from their opening powerplay, Mulder executing a smart run-out from mid-off as Gubbins chanced a single off Chris Wright before bowling Middleton off an inside edge, but luck seemed to be with them as Ben Brown was spared when Ackermann missed a run-out chance and two lbw reviews went in their favour.

Three overs of Ackermann’s off-spin could not dislodge the third-wicket pair but when Wright returned in his place at the pavilion end a double breakthrough came. Brown pulled straight to short midwicket, he and Tom Prest having added 79, before Aneurin Donald fell victim to the same bowler-fielder combination off a top-edge.

Prest, the 20-year-old batter whose impressive season had included a hundred and two fifties before this match, hammered Josh Hull for a monstrous six over long-off before completing another half-century off 61 balls but when he then offered a simple return catch in the same over the outcome was in the balance at 136 for five.

One-Day Cup: Leicestershire beat Hampshire in final-ball thriller to end wait for 50-over trophy

Yet sixth-wicket pair Dawson and Joe Weatherley were able to head off this mini-crisis for Hampshire so that the last 10 overs arrived with 73 needed. Leicestershire appeared to have only five bowling options, and while none was leaking runs heavily, it took an excellent diving catch by sub fielder Will Davis at deep backward square as Weatherley slog-swept Ackermann to crank up the pressure again, leaving Hampshire 218-6, needing 50 more from 40 balls.

Holland’s improvisation brought him 16 from 13 balls but he too fell to a brilliant catch by Hull running round from long leg as he ramped Mulder, leaving 25 needed from 18.

Dawson eased the pressure with a maximum off Hull to leave 11 needed off two before a tight over from Wright conceded just three, leaving Hull to have the final word. Three singles preceded the end of Dawson, caught at long leg off a paddle-sweep. New man Currie took a single, leaving Barker needing a four off the final delivery, which he squirted towards the off-side boundary but with insufficient power to beat the fielder as Leicestershire’s celebrations began.

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