Paul Nixon steers Leicestershire into T20 semis
|FL t20 quarter-final, Grace Road|
|Leicestershire 206-7 (19.2ov) beat Kent 203-3 (20ov) by three wickets|
Wicketkeeper Paul Nixon hit 31 in his last competitive game at Grace Road to send Leicestershire to FL t20 finals day with a three-wicket win over Kent.
Set 204 for victory, Nixon came in with the Foxes stuttering on 128-5 after James Taylor (22) and Andrew Mcdonald (53) fell in the space of four balls.
But Nixon and Abdul Razzaq (27) put on 48 off 21 balls before Matt Boyce hit the winning runs with four balls left.
Azhar Mahmood had earlier top-scored with 91 as Kent made 203-3.
Mahmood was imperious as he smashed four sixes and nine fours in his 52-ball innings and shared 130 for the third wicket with Martin van Jaarsveld (63) as Kent made their highest Twenty20 total of the season.
But it was not enough as Leicestershire booked their place in finals day for the first time since 2006 with a stunning batting display.
McDonald, this summer's leading run scorer in the competition, ensured Leicestershire stayed up with the run-rate from the off as he hit a six and seven fours in his 53 off 32 balls.
He received plenty of support from Josh Cobb (18 off eight balls), Jacques du Toit (24 off 13) and England Lions batsmen Taylor (22), but his dismissal at the end of the 13th over when he was bowled by Darren Stevens, so soon after Taylor was caught on the boundary, left Kent favourites.
That was before Razzaq blitzed 27 off 11 balls, including two sixes, and Nixon, who will retire at the end of the Foxes' Twenty20 campaign, used all his experience to hit a six and four fours in his 17-ball innings to get Leicestershire back on course.
It would have been a fairytale for 40-year old Nixon to hit the winning runs after such a thrilling chase, but he was bowled by Wahab Riaz off the first ball of the final over with two needed, with Boyce steering his first ball to the boundary to send the Foxes to Edgbaston.