Worcestershire v Leicestershire: Saeed Ajmal leads hosts to victory

Saeed Ajmal
Ajmal has claimed 169 wickets in 33 Test matches for Pakistan
LV= County Championship Division Two, New Road
Worcestershire 321 & 416-8 dec beat Leicestershire 280 & 253 by 204 runs
Worcs 22pts, Leics 5pts
Match scorecard

Saeed Ajmal claimed seven wickets in his final County Championship match for Worcestershire as they defeated Leicestershire by 204 runs.

Resuming on 56-2, Ajmal had Dan Redfern (29) caught by Tom Kohler-Cadmore, before removing Jigar Naik for two and bowling James Sykes for five.

Leicestershire lost four wickets for 21 runs as they were dismissed for 253.

The Pakistan spinner finished with match figures of 7-147 to keep Worcestershire top of Division Two.

Ajmal finished his spell as the current leading wicket-taker in Division Two with 63 scalps in nine matches, 21 more than Derbyshire's Mark Footitt, having hit his highest score, an unbeaten 53, earlier in the match.

Joe Leach took 3-71 and Charles Morris 3-53 to give the league leaders their sixth win of the season and move them a step closer to promotion with five matches remaining.

Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien top-scored for Leicestershire with 57, an innings which included 11 fours, and opener Greg Smith made 46.

But the visitors were condemned to their seventh loss of the season and remain bottom, nine points behind Derbyshire in eighth, who are currently in action against Gloucestershire.

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes on Saeed Ajmal:

"His wickets and economy rate in Twenty20 has been outstanding and, likewise, the amount of wickets he has taken in four-day cricket.

"But it's not just his wickets. This is a very young squad.

"His experience and help for Daryl Mitchell in the field has been important as well. He's almost a father figure."

Leicestershire senior coach Ben Smith:

"It was a big ask to bat the day out, but it wasn't beyond us. Everyone felt quite buoyant at the start but we had a bad 40 minutes after lunch.

"We have shown a lot of fight and belief to play against a world-class performer in Saeed Ajmal.

"He doesn't need the wicket to turn because he has so many subtle variations."

BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens:

"Worcestershire were good value for their win, although Leicestershire's batsmen at times threatened to make life difficult for them, especially when Josh Cobb and Niall O'Brien were together.

"The loss of four wickets in rapid order shortly after lunch left O'Brien isolated and, while he went on to make a deserved half-century, it was only really a case of postponing the inevitable outcome.

"For the home side, Joe Leach, Charlie Morris and Saeed Ajmal each took three wickets in the Leicestershire second innings - a fitting finale for Ajmal, who left the field to a standing ovation in this his last appearance of the season for Worcestershire."

BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae:

"Leicestershire's supporters knew what would happen in this match from lunchtime on the third day.

"Competitive for two-and-a-half days, Leicestershire once again failed to last the pace.

"There were some good individual performances again, as there have been all season, but collectively there is something missing.

"By the time the Championship resumes, the county will have a better idea of the players who will still be at Grace Road next season and, with that in mind, they will look to give some of the fringe players their opportunity to stake their claim."

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