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Last chance saloon for Foxes

Leicestershire Foxes should need no inspiring tonight when their Twenty20 Cup future is put on the line.

The Foxes take on the Nottinghamshire Outlaws, the derby nature of the encounter demanding that nothing short of the players' best performances will do.

On top of that, Trent Bridge was the venue for Leicestershire's Twenty20 Cup triumph in 2006, when half-centuries from Jim Allenby and Darren Maddy set up a famous victory over their neighbours.

Allenby will again be a key figure - the spotlight seemingly following him around in recent matches.

On Sunday he became the first player to take four wickets in four balls in Twenty20 cricket, then on Tuesday he was charged with bowling the dramatic final over of the match against Yorkshire. The Foxes' all-rounder looked about to pull an incredible win out of the bag only for Chris Taylor to launch a huge last-ball six to win the day for the visitors.

"There was one of those deathly silences at the end," said Leicestershire senior coach Tim Boon. "There was obviously a lot of disappointment.

"Such is Twenty20. You have to have that never-say-die attitude because the game can change so quickly."

Du Preez was one of the night's other successes. Moved up the order to No.5, the South African all-rounder showed he is capable of putting runs on the board at a rapid rate and would seem likely to figure in the same position today.

"Dillon showed that he is a powerful hitter when he went in," Boon said. "But he also has the ability to play intelligently and read situations."

Leicestershire have called young seamer Sam Cliff into their squad, though Boon said that did not necessarily mean he is about to make his Twenty20 debut.

Cliff shone in the recent match against Leeds-Bradford UCCE when he took four wickets and the County coach said: "He has done well for the second team, bowling a consistent length. At this stage being in the squad and travelling with the team will help."

He added: "I am still optimistic that the squad we have contains the right people, the right characters and the right skills.

"We've got six new players in the squad and it does take time. But as we all know Twenty20 is a 100-yard dash and everything goes by so quickly."

The Foxes cannot afford to let the game pass them by tonight. There have been signs in the last couple of matches that some of their key players have begun to find their best form.

Against a strong Notts unit it will take a vintage Leicestershire performance with bat and ball to open their win account and keep alive those faint hopes of reaching the knock-out stages for the fifth time in six years.

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