Rishi Patel Century Sparks Thrilling Tie at Wantage Road: Vitality Blast 2024 Recap

Leicestershire’s Rishi Patel produced a brilliant effort in a riveting Vitality Blast match at Wantage Road, smashing his second T20 century with a scorching 104 off 45 balls.

His efforts overshadowed Steelbacks captain David Willey’s historic 300th T20 match milestone of 71 runs, as they played to a thrilling stalemate against Northamptonshire.

Rishi Patel Century Sparks Thrilling Tie at Wantage Road: Vitality Blast 2024 Recap
It was Rishi Patel's second T20 hundred. Getty Images

Northamptonshire 208 for 5 (Willey 71, Breetzke 47) and Leicestershire 208 for 7 (Patel 104, Weatherall 4-50) were tied.

Leading run scorer for the Blast this year, Parmesh Patel achieved the century mark in just 41 deliveries, matching the Foxes’ record for the fastest T20 century, which was set by Ben Raine against Birmingham six years prior.

The 25-year-old opener helped the host team record 208 for 5, surpassing Steelbacks captain David Willey, who scored 71 from 48 to mark his 300th career T20 game and cross 4,000 runs in the format.

In the face of Patel’s assault, Northamptonshire faltered. However, rookie seamer Raphy Weatherall held the Foxes back with 4 for 50, and Lewis Goldsworthy edged a boundary with his final delivery to level the game.

After choosing to bat first, the Steelbacks brought back Ricardo Vasconcelos to their lineup, and the opener got off to a lively start, smashing two early cover boundaries off Wiaan Mulder.

He and Matthew Breetzke rattled along beautifully, adding 42 from 24 balls after Ben Mike’s first three balls went over the fence. Then, Scott Currie pounced, throwing a precise throw from deep off to run the left-hander out.

Breetzke was yorked for 47 from 24 thanks to another stroke of individual genius from Currie, but Willey quickly picked up pace, slog-sweeping Goldsworthy for the first six of the evening and striking the following ball for four.

Before being dismissed by Goldsworthy, Ravi Bopara (22 from 15) contributed to the scoreboard’s rapid progress, but Sikandar Raza’s brilliant 36 not out from just 14 balls was the main factor in pushing Northamptonshire over 200.

Raza hit consecutive sixes off of Ian Holland and Goldsworthy, and even though Willey was out of luck in the last over, misfiring to mid-off, Josh Hull took his first of two wickets in as many balls, the Steelbacks’ score was respectable.

But when Leicestershire responded, hitting 18 off Willey’s opening over and hitting cleanly over the ring, Patel gladly took the challenge. He and Sol Budinger put together an opening partnership of 61 from 28 overs.

Also Read: Yorkshire Triumphs Over Lancashire in Thrilling Roses Match in Vitality Blast 2024

Budinger was ultimately removed by Ben Sanderson when he was caught in the deep for a supporting act of 13, but Patel quickly passed his half-century from 22 deliveries with a four off Raza that was cover-driven, and he kept stealing boundaries from both seamers and spinners.

After getting to his hundred with two consecutive sixes and fours off deliveries from Sanderson, Patel was dropped by Breetzke at long-on on 103, but he made up for it in the next over, securing a top edge off Freddie Heldreich.

Willey gave Northamptonshire fresh hope when he trapped Louis Kimber leg before, and the Foxes just needed 19 from the final two overs when Mike and Mulder both quickly holed out to deep square leg off Weatherall.

Sanderson’s three dot balls increased the strain, though, as Weatherall removed Ben Cox and Peter Handscomb (43 from 41) to reduce the score to five from the final ball. However, Goldsworthy’s outside edge found the boundary to save a point for Leicestershire.

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