Chris Lynn played another destructive, big-hitting innings for Northamptonshire Steelbacks, posting the third T20 century of his career as he put Leicestershire Foxes bowlers to the sword in this Vitality Blast clash.
Amid an onslaught of boundaries at Wantage Road, Lynn bludgeoned 106 from just 66 balls with 12 fours and three huge sixes as Northamptonshire closed on 227 for one.
Lynn picked up where he left off against Durham on this ground last Friday, sharing another century opening stand with Ben Curran (31). He was then joined by New Zealand international Jimmy Neesham who made a blistering 75 off just 30 deliveries featuring six enormous maximums on Steelbacks debut. The pair put on 118 in just 53 balls of mayhem in front of a near capacity crowd who gave both batters a standing ovation.
In reply, Foxes opener Scott Steel hit 64 from 45 deliveries. His stand of 65 in seven overs with skipper Colin Ackerman offered a glimpse of hope, before young left-arm wrist spinner Freddie Heldreich claimed three wickets for the second time in a week.
The Steelbacks’ total was all the more notable given some sharp Foxes bowling and fielding restricted them to 48 in the powerplay. But Lynn soon found his stride targeting all the Foxes bowlers, clubbing them straight down the ground and over deep midwicket. He also found plenty of runs through the covers and past backward point.
Not to be outdone, Neesham, fresh from a stint in the IPL, was soon into the fun, adding five fours to go with his six-hitting.
The Steelbacks struck early when Ben Sanderson removed Hamish Rutherford. The bowler followed that by taking a running catch off Tom Taylor when Arron Lilley could not quite clear the infield.
It left the Foxes in real trouble at 8 for two, but Ackerman led a fightback, cutting Neesham for successive boundaries and then swinging Sanderson over midwicket for another. He took four boundaries off Heldreich’s first over to take the Foxes to 50 for two at the end of the powerplay.
Heldreich finally got his man when Ackerman hit straight to Graeme White on the long-leg boundary. Rishi Patel then fell to a stunning one-handed leaping catch by Rob Keogh on the deep midwicket boundary to give Heldreich his second scalp and leave the Foxes at 87 for four.
Steel was joined by Ben Mike who struck some lusty blows off the slower bowlers but despite that, the Foxes were left needing 94 off the final five overs. When Mike offered a tame catch in the ring and departed for 30, the end was nigh.
Steel continued his aggression before falling to an excellent catch from Curran at point off Neesham who finished with two wickets.
The Foxes went down in a flurry of wickets, Sanderson also collecting three scalps in the process as the visitors closed on 185 for nine.