Leicestershire's determination to make another prominent showing in one-day cricket this summer was reflected in their choice of Michael Bevan as overseas player, the decision to hire the high-profile Australian being taken in spite of concerted efforts to reduce the wage bill at Grace Road.
By reaching the final of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy and finishing runners-up in the Norwich Union League in 2001, Leicestershire turned a £150,000 deficit into a £25,000 profit in 12 months, which emphasises the value of success in the limited overs game. If speculating to accumulate was the justification for Bevan's signing, it looked sound enough reasoning yesterday.
The left-hander marked his home debut for his new county with 113 off 102 balls as Leicestershire beat Durham by 32 runs, an innings overshadowed only by team-mate Trevor Ward's equally vibrant 127 off 143 deliveries, a competition-best for the opener.
Sharing a partnership of 202 for the second wicket after the Leicestershire captain Vince Wells had retired with a bruised forearm, the pair matched each other for one-day batsmanship. Ward's 17 boundaries were supplemented with two mighty blows for six. He was eventually bowled by Paul Collingwood.
Bevan, meanwhile, mixed power with typical improvisation to make 16 fours and a six. One over against Mark Davies saw 18 runs flow from Bevan's bat in a sequence of 4-4-6-4, although he was dropped in the middle of it by Nicky Peng. Only Neil Killeen escaped the carnage, eventually bowling Bevan behind his legs in a tidy 10 overs that cost only 28 runs.
Without three seam bowlers, including Devon Malcolm and Phil DeFreitas, through illness or injury, Leicestershire needed the insurance of a high total. So long as the excellent Peng was still going, Durham were in with a chance but, once the 19-year-old had fallen to an attempted pull for 67, the task always looked beyond them.Reuse content