Durham too quick for the Leicestershire Foxes

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DURHAM coach Geoff Cook hailed his side’s character as they sealed a last-ball win against Leicestershire Foxes to maintain their top four place in the FriendsLife T20 North Group.

The Foxes needed four runs to win off the last ball of their reply but Mitchell Claydon held his nerve to catch Claude Henderson off his own bowling.

Cook said: “It’s a good sign when you win the close games.

“That was really the first close game we’ve had, so it was a real test of the bowlers’ character. I thought they all came through with flying colours but especially (Chris) Rushworth and Claydon at the end.

“It’s nice for us to win two successive games and they have been advantageous in terms of a league position. But we’ve still got lots of crucial cricket to come.”

Durham had posted a total of 187-5, thanks largely to Gordon Muchall, who hit 64 off 50 balls.

The opening batsman shared partnerships with Phil Mustard (25), Ian Blackwell (25) and skipper Dale Benkenstein (23).

Muchall was eventually out in the final over of Durham’s innings.

Cook said: “I think it was key that he stayed in for so long. He stayed there and was consistently scoring off most balls. It was a well-constructed innings.”

The Foxes came out looking to play their shots and Joshua Cobb, who just over a week ago made a 26-ball 50 against Durham, made his intentions clear by blasting the first two balls of the innings to the boundary.

However, Claydon struck with his first ball to remove Andrew McDonald and took the wicket of the dangerous Cobb four balls later to peg the visitors back.

Will Jefferson then started to dominate the Dynamos bowlers with a combination of power and strokeplay as the Foxes moved past the 100 mark at the halfway stage.

He and Jaques du Toit put on a partnership of 95 before the former Nottinghamshire man was out lbw to Benkenstein for a brilliant 63 from just 30 balls, including 12 fours and a six.

That prompted a collapse as Du Toit (33) and Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq (6) followed an over later to the bowling of Liam Plunkett.

James Taylor and Wayne White tried to keep the Foxes in touch with the run rate, but were kept in check by some accurate Durham bowling.

White gave Leicestershire hope of an unlikely victory with a boundary in the final over but with four needed off the final ball from Henderson, Claydon took a simple return catch to seal a dramatic victory.

H Durham are in action today on the first day of their top-of-the-table County Championship clash with Lancashire in Liverpool.