Foxes are chased in vain by Kimber and Mulder as they fire their arms
Maiden List of Ben Foakes Despite scoring 100 runs, Leicestershire Foxes defeated Surrey at the Kia Oval by a convincing margin of five wickets to begin their Metro Bank One-Day Cup Group A campaign. In all of one-day cricket, it was their greatest winning total when chasing.
Wiaan Mulder hit three sixes of his own in a comfortable 67 not out off 53 balls as Leicestershire won with 7.4 overs to spare at 329 for 5. Louis Kimber slammed five sixes in a devastating 89 not out off 62 balls. The Foxes appear to be a solid outside chance for this year’s 50-over competition because Surrey only lost 13 players to the Hundred, compared to the Hundred’s two losses.
In the last overs of Surrey’s 325 all out, Foakes smashed two sixes and eight fours in 106 from 107 balls, while Ben Geddes sped to 67 off only 39 balls, giving seamer Tom Scriven a one-day best of 5 for 66.
But Mulder and Kimber’s unbroken 146-run stand in 18.1 overs, a Foxes List After Peter Handscomb’s 54-ball 57 and Lewis Hill’s superb 46 from 37 balls helped to push Leicestershire to 186 for 5 at the halfway point of their reply, Surrey were defeated by a sixth-wicket record as Leicestershire cruised to victory.
Josh Blake, who was filling in behind the stumps after Foakes went down with a knee injury while batting, caught Hill off a gloved sweep at Cameron Steel.
The Foxes got off to a quick start thanks to Rishi Patel and Sol Budinger before both players were caught at mid-on, for 16 and 33, off Matt Dunn and Conor McKerr, respectively.
For the third wicket, Hill and Handscomb put up 79 runs in ten overs, but Colin Ackermann was unnecessarily run out for 10, sent back after turning for a third run that was never there, and Handscomb cut a near-wide ball from leg spinner Steel to point.
Mulder, however, quickly pulled Steel for six to push Leicestershire to 200 in the 27th over by hitting an additional cover four and striking a legside six off McKerr.
The situation was essentially resolved when Kimber took 21 from the 36th over, bowled by Dunn, with three sixes hooked and dragged over the longer boundary. Kimber had previously pulled McKerr for six, off-driver Dan Moriarty for another maximum, and pulled McKerr for six.
Foakes’ typically graceful effort served as the foundation for Surrey’s innings, which initially stumbled after Leicestershire made the decision to bowl. Geddes, the young 22-year-old batsman inserted at No. 7 with instructions to guide the tail to a respectable score, completed it with a burst of brilliant hitting.
Steel also contributed, hitting leg-side sixes off Ackermann and Josh Hull, a 6′ 7″ young left-arm fast making his List A debut, in a quickfire 40-ball 50. Foakes and Steel added 95 runs in 14 overs for the fifth wicket after Steel joined Surrey when they were in some trouble at 129 for 4 in the 23rd over.
Initially stabilizing the innings in a partnership worth 66 runs with Dom Sibley, who had seen fellow opener Ryan Patel edge low to slip on 17 and skipper Rory Burns depart looking clearly annoyed at being ruled caught behind for 5 on a beautiful pitch from Chris Wright that pitched on leg stump and jagged across him, Foakes had sailed to fifty from 55 balls.
Before Scriven’s cameo of 19 was cut short by an attempted back-foot force against the same bowler that he dragged down into his stumps, Sibley’s 34 from 40 balls came to an end when he nicked a flat-footed drive at Hull to the keeper and Jordan Clark lifted Scriven for six.
When he drove Mulder’s medium pace over the short boundary on the Harleyford Road side, Foakes started to pick up speed.
He subsequently scored another six by barely clearing deep midwicket with a pull off Hull, followed by a rasping square cut for four two balls later. As Steel smashed Ackermann’s outbreaks over the far boundary and collected another maximum with a whiplash pull off Hull, he quickly surpassed his previous List A best of 92.
After an umpires’ discussion, Patel’s low catch of Steel at mid-on, taken at the second attempt as he dove forward to scoop up a miscue off Scriven, allowed Foakes to reach his century in the 39th over. However, after top-edging a pull at the same bowler high into the air for keeper Handscomb to claim, Steel was out for the game.
Geddes started the innings by hitting Scriven well over the long-on rope, but the innings was on the verge of ending when McKerr was brilliantly caught on the boundary for a useful 13, Yousef Majid was bowled for 2, and Moriarty was caught at deep mid-on for a five-ball duck.
Geddes responded by hitting three sixes off the first four balls of the final over, over extra cover, straight, and to square cover before being caught trying to repeat his previous scoring shot on the fifth ball.