Northamptonshire 168 for 2 (Lynn 110* ) beat Leicestershire 164 for 8 (Kimber 41, Sanderson 3-25, Tye 3-30) by eight wickets
The Australian who smashed an unbeaten century against the same opposition last season had managed just 66 runs in four innings so far this year but he put the Foxes to the sword before a packed Wantage Road as Northants showed signs of a season gaining momentum.
Lynn plundered five sixes and 13 fours, and shared an 81-run stand in 8.5 overs with skipper David Willey as the Steelbacks reached their target of 165 with seven balls to spare.
Chris Lynn scored a century against Leicestershire Foxes off 66 balls for the second year running – his T20 third century for the club overall. No other Steelbacks batter has scored more than one. “It wasn’t our most polished performance, but we’re building,” he said. “The boys have just lacked a little bit of belief so far, but there are some good signs.”
Louis Kimber hit a spirited 41 off 27 balls to help push Leicestershire into three figures. Although the Foxes lost four wickets for 48 in their last seven overs with Andrew Tye taking three for 30, Naveen-ul-Haq clubbed 25 off just eight balls to ensure they posted a competitive total, albeit around 15 to 20 runs below par.
Sanderson (3 for 25) was Northants’ leading T20 wicket taker last season and he opened his account this year by bowling Nick Welch before having Rishi Patel caught at mid-on and knocking over Colin Ackermann’s stumps three balls later.
Lewis Hill (31), dropped off Sanderson on 8, hit Willey over long on for four and took on the hook shot, garnering a six and two fours through balls which flew behind the stumps. His innings ended though with the introduction of Freddie Heldreich’s spin who had him well stumped by Lewis McManus.
Kimber led a recovery with useful support from Rehan Ahmed in a stand worth 47 in 5.4 overs. Kimber dented Sanderson’s figures by swinging him for a huge six over deep midwicket and pulling him for four in the same direction before dispatching Heldreich over long on and long off for two maximums. He offered a steepling caught and bowled chance on 31 but James Sales could not hold on. He finally perished attempting a big swing against Tye with the Foxes 103 for five after 13 overs.
Ahmed (16) fell when he advanced down the pitch and attempted to hook Willey only to top edge the ball for the Steelbacks skipper to take a simple catch. Tye then chipped in to knock over Callum Parkinson’s (16) stumps before Harry Swindells offered him a steepling catch off his own bowling in the final over which ended with Naveen-ul-Haq blazing consecutive sixes.
When Northamptonshire batted, Emilio Gay (13), opening in place of the in-form Ricardo Vasconcelos who is nursing a wrist injury, played some attractive shots before he was the first wicket to fall caught behind off Naseem Shah.
Lynn, though, soon powered through the gears targeting Parkinson with a pair of fours off the third over. He smashed Naveen-ul-Haq through extra cover and cut him slightly squarer for another boundary before dispatching Ackermann and Parkinson for sixes over cow corner and brought up his half-century off 42 deliveries.
He was especially severe on Josh Hull’s second over, taking 20 runs from it, including a big six over the family stand at deep midwicket.
Willey was dropped in the deep off a difficult chance off Ahmed on 8. He hit the young England leg-spinner out of the ground over deep midwicket for six but finally fell to a boundary catch off Naveen with the Steelbacks needing 45 from 41 balls.
Saif Zaib (15*) broke the shackles with a couple of boundaries before Lynn swept Parkinson for six and hit him for four down the ground to go into the 90s. He reached his century and brought up the Steelbacks’ win by clubbing Rehan for six and two fours off consecutive deliveries.