RAMNARESH Sarwan hit a brilliant century to steer Leicestershire Foxes to a thrilling last-ball victory against Worcestershire Royals in the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group ‘A’ clash at Grace Road.
In a match reduced to 31 overs a side because of a delayed start, Sarwan hit 100 off 85 balls as the Foxes successfully chased down a target of 215 to win by four wickets and climb off the bottom of the table.
It was the West Indian star's second century in the competition and the Foxes’ second successive victory. But they also owed much to a seventh-wicket stand of 31 off 28 balls between Rob Taylor and Will Jones, who came together after the Foxes lost three wickets in the 29th over.
Sarwan and Ned Eckersley were both bowled by David Lucas and Matt Boyce was run out, leaving the Foxes needing 29 runs off the final two overs.
They managed 13 off the penultimate over but still required another 16 off the last from Lucas. Taylor smashed a waist high no-ball to the boundary off the first delivery and the batsmen then scampered another six runs during the over leaving them with two to win off the final ball, which Taylor cover drove to the boundary to clinch a remarkable victory.
Put in to bat after the start had been delayed by 90 minutes, the Royals posted a challenging 217-6, with Phil Hughes playing the anchor role, scoring 57 off 58 balls and sharing a stand of 77 with his captain, Daryl Mitchell.
Moeen Ali and Vikram Solanki gave the Royals a fine start putting on 55 in the first 10 overs. Moeen hit 40 off 35 balls and Solanki 34 off 35.
But it was Mitchell who gave the innings real impetus with a knock of 44 off 29 balls. The Royals scored 57 off the last five overs to set the Foxes a tough chase.
Taylor was the pick of the home bowlers with two for 26 off six overs. But it was Sarwan who emerged as the Foxes hero with his stunning innings that included two sixes and nine fours, before he was bowled off an outside edge by Lucas.
Greg Smith made a vital 34 off 42 balls and Taylor then blasted a quick-fire 22 at the death to snatch a dramatic victory.