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Wiaan Mulder stars with 116*, four-wicket haul as Leicestershire see off Middlesex

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Published in Cricket
Thursday, 04 August 2022 11:47

Leicestershire 359 for 8 (Mulder 116*, Kimber 68, Bowley 50) Middlesex 344 for 9 (Eskinazi 56, Malan 50, Mulder 4-47) by 15 runs

Leicestershire's Wiaan Mulder produced career-best performances with bat and ball as his side beat Middlesex by 15 runs at Radlett to maintain a winning start to their Royal London Cup campaign.

The South African allrounder struck an undefeated 116 from 100 balls as he and 21-year-old Nat Bowley hauled the Foxes out of difficulties at 227 for 7 with a spirited century partnership. Late hitting enabled Leicestershire to post an imposing 359 for eight and that target was beyond the home side, who fell short on 344 for 9, with Mulder returning figures of 4 for 47.

Half-centuries from Stephen Eskinazi and Pieter Malan were not enough for Middlesex as the superior quality of the Foxes' death bowling proved decisive.

Nick Welch was the first to depart after Middlesex had put their opponents in, skying Ethan Bamber to long-on where Luke Hollman kept his concentration for a tricky catch, but Louis Kimber (68 from 51) and Rishi Patel kept the scoreboard moving along steadily.

Leicestershire's momentum was dented by two wickets in successive Martin Andersson overs, with Max Holden plucking a sharp catch out of the air at point to remove Patel before Lewis Hill was caught behind.

Kimber, who flicked Andersson over square leg for the first six of the game and then swept Thilan Walallawita for another en route to his half-century, looked a good bet to convert that into a maiden limited-overs hundred. Those hopes disappeared with Malan's second delivery, steered tamely by Kimber into the hands of midwicket, but Mulder and Arron Lilley put the visitors back on track with their stand of 86.

Lilley slammed Walallawita for four to bring up the Foxes' 200 and lifted the next ball over the fence - only to perish with a half-century firmly in sight as Mark Stoneman sprang forward for a diving midwicket catch.

That was the first of a trio of quick wickets for Hollman (3 for 43), which appeared to hand the initiative back to Middlesex - but Mulder and Bowley had other ideas, sharing a superb eighth-wicket stand of 113 from 82 balls. Bowley, playing only his second List A game, registered 50 from 41, including successive fours in a ragged Andersson over that cost 33 in all as Leicestershire accumulated 83 from the last five of their innings.

Middlesex launched their chase in solid fashion, with the openers putting on 79 from 15 overs as Eskinazi shrugged off an early blow on the hand from a Chris Wright delivery that spat up to score 56 from 51. However, Mulder struck twice as Stoneman was bowled playing across the line and Eskinazi departed leg before to a ball that nipped back as the Foxes continued to snuff out partnerships before they could develop into decisive ones.

Lilley had Sam Robson caught at mid-off while Malan - having just completed a 52-ball half-century - was taken down the leg side off the opening delivery of Beuran Hendricks' second spell.

Mulder also returned to have Holden caught at long leg and also took out Umesh Yadav's middle stump, while Tom Scriven's slower ball deceived Joe Cracknell. Although Andersson struck Hendricks for only the third six of the innings to finish unbeaten on 33, it was not enough to prevent Leicestershire making it two wins from two.

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