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Chris Morris to join Hampshire for Vitality Blast



South Africa allrounder Chris Morris will join Hampshire for this year’s Vitality Blast.

The 32-year-old Morris was this week called into South Africa’s World Cup squad as a replacement for fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who was ruled out of the tournament because of a fractured thumb.

Morris will join Hampshire at the end of his World Cup commitments and will be available for the entire Blast season.

A fierce right-arm seamer and destructive middle-order hitter, Morris has made 63 appearances so far for his national side since his debut in a T20I against New Zealand in 2012. He averages 20.50 with the ball in T20Is with a strike rate of 130.39 with the bat.

Playing domestically for the Titans, Morris has also featured in several franchise competitions around the world, including the IPL and CPL, and he played for Surrey in the 2016 Blast.

“I’m really looking forward to joining Hampshire for the Vitality Blast,” Morris said. “It’s an exciting tournament and it’s an exciting summer coming up – I can’t wait to get there and play at the Ageas Bowl and express what I can do.”

Hampshire director of cricket, Giles White said: “We were delighted when Chris agreed early on to join us for the season. He’s a dynamic batsman in the middle-order and a handful with the ball both up front and at the death, so he’s a great fit for us and hopefully he’ll make a big difference this summer.”

Hampshire begin their quest to reach an eighth T20 finals day in 10 years on July 19 when they host Sussex.

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Recent Match Report – Lancashire vs Leicestershire North Group 2020



Leicestershire 409 for 8 (Slater 172, Ackermann 94) and 150 for 3 (Ackermann 73*) beat Lancashire 322 (Vilas 90, Croft 63) and 236 (Davies 54, Croft 52*, Mike 4-39) by seven wickets

Captain Colin Ackermann led the charge as unfancied Leicestershire completed a sensational seven-wicket victory with just eight balls remaining in the Bob Willis Trophy match against Lancashire at Blackfinch New Road.

Ackermann finished on 73 not out off just 41 balls as the Foxes chased down their 150 runs off a 17-overs target, hitting ten fours and a six in an extraordinary display of shot-making on a slow pitch. Young left-hander Harry Dearden played an important role, hitting Lancashire strike bowler Tom Bailey for consecutive sixes over long-on before reverse-sweeping left-arm spinner Tom Hartley high over extra cover for another maximum.

It was hard to take for a Lancashire side badly hit by England call-ups and injuries, and for whom three bowlers were making a debut, and in particular Steven Croft, who earlier in the day led a determined defensive effort, finishing unbeaten on 52 after facing 185 balls before Lancashire were bowled out for 236 in their second innings.

The morning had seen Leicestershire make an encouraging start after Lancashire resumed on their overnight score of 96 for 3, Chris Wright finding the inside edge of Rob Jones’ bat and seeing the ball loop from the batsman’s front pad high into leg side, where George Rhodes, running in from short midwicket, took a comfortable catch.

Lancashire captain Dave Vilas was joined by Croft and the two experienced batsmen dug in. Leicestershire’s bowlers knew they had to be patient on a slow, placid track, though Vilas did give one chance, clipping a delivery from left-arm seamer Dieter Klein low down the leg-side, but wicket-keeper Harry Swindells, diving to his left, could not hang on.

It was beginning to look as though Vilas and Croft could match or exceed their first-innings partnership of 130 until the shortly before lunch, when the South African tried to steer a wide delivery from left-arm spinner Parkinson through point, only to bottom edge the ball into his stumps.

If that was fortuitous for Parkinson, his next wicket was anything but, George Balderson going back to a delivery which spun sharply back into the left-hander’s pads to dismiss him leg before wicket. Croft remained immoveable, but the loss of Danny Lamb, leg before to a full delivery from Ben Mike, lifted Leicestershire spirits as they went in to tea with 32 overs remaining in the match.

Mike made it two in two balls by immediately producing a beauty to find the edge of Bailey’s bat, Swindells taking a brilliant one-handed catch to his right. Hartley fought hard before being leg before on the back pad to an Ackermann delivery which turned, and Ed Moulton’s second duck of the match left the Foxes a target of almost nine runs an over.

Having hit 94 before being run out by his partner in the first innings, Ackermann played superbly to complete a personal return of 168 runs in the match, along with two wickets and some outstanding captaincy in overseeing the taking of 20 wickets on a pitch which offered the bowlers relatively little assistance.

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Recent Match Report – England vs Ireland 3rd ODI 2020



England 328 (Morgan 106, Banton 58, Willey 51, Young 3-53) v Ireland

Ireland will need 329 to pull off their first ODI win on English soil and their first victory against major opposition since the 2015 World Cup after Eoin Morgan’s 14th ODI hundred underpinned a frenetic innings.

After three early wickets, Morgan added 146 in 18.2 overs with Tom Banton, who made his first international half-century from No. 5 to drive England towards an imposing total, before a second middle-order hiccup in as many games threatened to derail their innings completely.

David Willey thrashed 51 from No. 8 to drive them up towards 300, but if Ireland’s top-order batsmen can stand up for the first time in the series then they will have a reasonable chance of completing the chase.

Andy Balbirnie’s decision to bowl first on a fresh pitch reaped instant dividends when Craig Young dismissed Jason Roy with the fifth ball of the game, pushing an outswinger to second slip with hard hands. It was the 15th time that Roy has been out in the first over of an ODI in his career, nine times more than anyone else in that time, and the third time Young had got him in the series.

Mark Adair, back in the side after a long-standing ankle problem which had kept him out for the first two ODIs, then nipped one in off the seam to burst through Jonny Bairstow, and when UltraEdge showed that James Vince had got an inside edge on a Young inswinger, England were in trouble at 44 for 3.

In a different era, that would have meant the middle order dropping anchor and knocking the ball around for 15 overs, but that is not the England way. Instead, Morgan – back at No. 4 after sliding down to No. 6 in the first two games – resembled the French general Ferdinand Foch: “My centre is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.”

With Banton for support, Morgan treated Ireland’s seamers with utter disdain, driving, cutting and pulling effortlessly to rack up a 39-ball half-century – 40 of those runs coming in boundaries. Aside from a Balbirnie drop at midwicket on 67, he hardly offered a chance. He was particularly brutal when Ireland dropped short, swatting Josh Little for a pair of towering sixes through backward square before drilling him dead-straight down the ground for a 78-ball hundred.

Morgan reached three figures at the end of the 25th over, and immediately attention turned to the record books: his own highest score of 148 and Roy’s England record 180 both looked like small fry.

And then, without warning, another middle-overs wobble threatened to knock England off course. Morgan was the first to go, slashing Little high into the off side which Harry Tector gobbled up at backward point, before Banton – who had looked much more assured in this innings, scoring fluently with good tempo and rhythm – was trapped on the pad by a full, flat ball from part-time legspinner Gareth Delany.

Balbirnie, to his credit, had attacked with his field placings throughout the series, and that did not change. He brought close fielders in on both sides of the wicket whenever a new man came in, and reaped the reward when the skittish Moeen Ali chipped a back-of-a-length ball from Curtis Campher to short cover.

Sam Billings, the man in form, smacked two boundaries off Campher to get up and running, but then chipped to mid-off to the second ball of Young’s second spell. By then 190 for 3 had turned into 216 for 7 in the space of seven overs, and Ireland sensed a real opening.

England’s batting depth then came to the fore, with David Willey freeing his arms to hit both spinners for boundaries before lofting Adair and McBrine for towering leg-side sixes. Curran survived an lbw review off McBrine, with Hawk-Eye showing the ball had hit him outside the line of off stump, and Willey brought up a 38-ball 50 with another lusty blow over cow corner.

Curran struggled for timing early in his innings, but did his best to manipulate the strike in a last-wicket stand of 30 with Saqib Mahmood, before the No. 11 swiped Little to mid-off with one ball remaining.

Morgan felt tightness in his groin while batting and opted not to field, with Moeen acting as captain during the Ireland innings and Liam Livingstone standing in as substitute fielder.

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Recent Match Report – Nottinghamshire vs Derbyshire North Group 2020



Derbyshire 239 and 365 for 7 (Hudson-Prentice 91*, Godleman 86) beat Nottinghamshire 324 (Hameed 68, Patel 63, Nash 59) and 279 (Patel 80, Hameed 52) by three wickets

Fynn Hudson-Prentice showed skill and character under pressure to guide Derbyshire to a remarkable three-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire in the Bob Willis Trophy North Group match at Trent Bridge.

The all-rounder made a superbly judged unbeaten 91 from 169 balls as Derbyshire chased down a 365 target with one ball to spare to record their highest-ever successful run-chase against a county side.

The defeat means Nottinghamshire, who lost fast bowler Joey Evison with a foot injury early on the final day, have not won a first-class game since June 2018.

They were favourites to end that barren run when Derbyshire slipped to 234 for 6 but Hudson-Prentice shared half-century stands with Mattie McKiernan and Michael Cohen, on his 22nd birthday, to give a game of changing fortunes one final twist.

Both teams went into the final morning with expectations of victory although overcast skies suggested conditions favoured the bowlers. It was gloomy enough for the floodlights to be switched on and Godleman and Madsen had to fight for every run against disciplined pace bowling.

Godleman drove Evison to the cover boundary to bring up the century stand just before a short rain delay and when play resumed, the young fast bowler trapped Derbyshire’s captain lbw with a full length ball that he played slightly across.

It was his last contribution as he left the field in the same over but despite being a bowler down, Nottinghamshire chipped away and claimed another big wicket before lunch.

Leus du Plooy scored a brilliant century in the first innings but this time he moved across his stumps to Steven Mullaney who swung the ball back in to have him lbw for 7.

Derbyshire’s hopes now seemingly rested with Madsen who was so intent on survival he scored only 15 runs in the first session and his obdurate innings ended soon after lunch.

Madsen had faced 174 balls for 43 but Ball defeated him with a full delivery that caught him in front on the crease and Harvey Hosein had his stumps scattered four overs later.

But Critchley reined in his natural attacking instincts and with Hudson-Prentice, dug in to frustrate Notts for 19 overs. The pair added 42 and tea was in sight when Critchley’s concentration wavered as Patel lured him down the pitch and raced away in celebration when Tom Moores whipped off the bails.

Notts took the new ball as soon as it became available but the breakthrough did not come with Hudson-Prentice and McKiernan playing calmly as the overs ticked away.

Ball came back at the Radcliffe Road End and had Hudson-Prentice dropped on 61 by Mullaney, diving across from second slip but in the same over, he squeezed one through McKiernan’s defence to break a stand that added 65 in 23 overs.

But Derbyshire continued to fight with Cohen twice driving Ball to the cover boundary as the target came down to 27 from five overs.

Hudson-Prentice pulled the first ball of the next over from Ball for four and then lifted Patel over mid-on to leave Derbyshire needing 13 from three.

That came down to five from the final over and Cohen completed a memorable day for him and Derbyshire when he swung the penultimate delivery from Ball to midwicket for the winning runs.

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