Foxes beat Hants to win cup in last-ball thriller

Leicestershire celebrate winning the One-Day Cup
Leicestershire’s last List A trophy came in 1985
Metro Bank One-Day Cup Final, Trent Bridge
Leicestershire 267-7: Swindells 117*, Evans 60: Currie 3-63, Barker 3-65
Hampshire 265-8: Dawson 57, Prest 51; Mulder 2-43, Wright 2-44
Leicestershire won by two runs

Leicestershire won their first List A trophy in 38 years as they beat Hampshire off the last ball to win the One-Day Cup final at Trent Bridge.

After slumping to 19-4, Harry Swindells’ stunning unbeaten century helped the Foxes to a total of 267-7.

Hampshire looked likely to get there, especially after half-centuries from Tom Prest (51) and Liam Dawson (57).

But, with eight needed off the last over, Dawson holed out – and they fell short to lose a classic by two runs.

Although 19-year-old Josh Hull was a hero at the end, limiting Hampshire to just five off the last over, the star of the show was another home-grown Leicestershire product Swindells.

He became the first Leicestershire player to score a century in a limited-overs final since Roger Tolchard at Lord’s in 1972.

His 117 not out was also the highest score in a final since Rilee Rossouw made 125 not out to help Hampshire beat Kent at Lord’s in 2018.

First Foxes win since Gower was in prime

The Foxes had not won a List A knockout trophy since David Gower’s side, complete with players including Jonathan Agnew, Peter Willey, Chris Balderstone and John Whitaker beat Graham Gooch’s Essex in the 55-overs-a-side Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord’s in 1985.

They had not been to a one-day final since losing the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy to Somerset in September 2001.

Since then, the only three trophies they had lifted was in the T20 which, like Hampshire, they have won a joint record three times – and the Foxes’ last one of them was in 2011.

Hampshire, by contrast, have been a lot more prolific the one-day arena, having lost only two of their nine Lord’s finals.

But ‘little Leicestershire’ fancied themselves for a bit of a resurgence at the start of the season. And they even survived the disrupting mid-season departure of club legend Paul Nixon as coach to show the resilience to turn their season around.

Swindells and Evans rally the Foxes

After winning the toss, Leicestershire opted to bat first.

The Foxes were clearly more mindful of thinking how a used wicket might turn later, having opted to bring in spinner Evans for Matt Salisbury, rather than worry about how Keith Barker might perform early on under thick cloud cover.

But, inside seven overs, they found themselves four wickets down.

Left-arm seamer Barker broke through with the final ball of his first over when he had Rishi Patel caught behind, then struck again in the third over when Sol Budinger put him away for a leg-side boundary, tried to repeat the shot and skied to Joe Weatherley at backward point.

9-2 then became 19-4 when, in the space of seven balls, the Foxes lost both their two South African batters.

Harry Swindells and Sam Evans broke Leicestershire's List A seventh-wicket partnership record
Harry Swindells and Sam Evans broke Leicestershire’s List A seventh-wicket partnership record with a stand of 151

First, Colin Ackermann chipped a catch to an alert Fletcha Middleton diving forward at mid-wicket, then Wiaan Mulder missed a straight one to give Barker his third wicket.

Skipper Hill helped batten down the hatches, first in a 37-run stand with Louis Kimber and then adding 33 with Evans.

But Scott Currie, currently on a red-ball loan with Leicestershire, had Kimber caught behind for 19, then also got Hill for 42 when he tried to belt his Championship team-mate out of the ground but succeeded only in giving keeper Ben Brown his third catch.

Hill’s anguished face suggested that he had just thrown away any chance his side had – but he could not have been more wrong.

Together with the key support of Evans, slowly at first and then with increasing assurance, Swindells played possibly the innings of his life.

From 89-6 in the 22nd over, they put on 151 in 26 overs to transform their team’s score from a massively under-par one to a potentially dependable one.

And, although Evans holed out with 14 balls left, Swindells stayed on to complete his century, comfortably his best one-day score, including the last of his three sixes and eight fours.

Liam Dawson was the Hampshire matchwinner in the semi-final - with the ball
Liam Dawson was the Hampshire matchwinner in the semi-final – with the ball

Hampshire just fall short

Hampshire openers Nick Gubbins and Middleton began well – until they were parted by a classy piece of out-cricket.

Gubbins attempted a quick single on 20, but Mulder picked up and, with just one stump to aim at, it was a direct hit.

Better still for Mulder, eight balls later he rearranged the furniture again, bowling Middleton for 15.

Prest and Brown then settled things down in a stand of 79 before another clatter of wickets – this time three in four overs.

Brown (33) and Aneurin Donald, off only his eighth ball, both mis-timed attempted pulls and skied to Ackermann close in, before the Foxes appeared to have got the key wicket when Prest returned a catch to the bowler Hull.

Harry Swindells and Tom Prest
Tom Prest was the first of Hampshire’s two half-centurions

It looked like Weatherley and Dawson, who took a record-breaking 7-15 in the semi-final win over Warwickshire, would see Hampshire home.

But substitute fielder Will Davis held on to a great catch diving forward at deep mid-wicket to remove Weatherley before Ian Holland took over as chief support to England all-rounder Dawson.

With 25 still needed off 19, Holland’s attempted leg-side ramp was taken by a diving Hull running round to short fine leg. Although it looked like Barker’s calming presence would get the job done, with three balls left, Dawson also attempted a leg-side ramp to long leg.

Chris Wright took the catch, on-loan Currie and Barker could only manage a single each off the last two – and one of the best-ever one-day finals was won by Leicestershire.

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