Durham 184 for 8 (Coughlin 42, Ahmed 2-22) beat Leicestershire 130 (Patel 40, Coughlin 4-15) by 54 runs

Paul Coughlin shone with bat and ball as Durham shrugged off the loss of three of their squad on England duty to beat Leicestershire Foxes by 54 runs in their opening North Group match in the Vitality Blast.

The 29-year-old allrounder made 42 from 30 balls to help Durham post 184 for 8 from their 20 overs after being asked to bat first, before taking 4 for 15 as the home side were bowled out for 130.

Rehan Ahmed, the 17-year-old legspinner who is exciting Leicestershire and England after taking 12 wickets in the Under-19 World Cup, bowled beautifully for his 2 for 22, taking a wicket with his first ball. But the youngster’s Blast debut – he also hit two sixes in his 18 – was one of few plusses for Leicestershire, for whom New Zealand’s Hamish Rutherford was out for a first-ball duck.

Three fours by Graham Clark off Roman Walker in the second of the innings set the tone for a brisk start by Durham but the Foxes hit back to claim two wickets in the powerplay, which ended with Durham 47 for 2.

Michael Jones, making his debut in this format, hoisted Callum Parkinson for six but was bowled by the left-arm spinner’s next delivery and Walker came back after his expensive first over to bring an early end to Ollie Robinson’s debut for Durham on loan, the Kent man slicing to backward point.

Ahmed introduced himself to Blast audiences in sensational fashion, taking a return catch with his first ball after inducing a leading edge from David Bedingham.

The youngster should have Ashton Turner as his second big scalp in his second over but Arron Lilley dropped what should have been a straightforward catch at deep midwicket when the Australian was on 17.

From 82 for 3 at the halfway point, Durham slipped to 109 for 5 in the 12th. Clark clubbed Lilley for his first six but was yorked by the next ball and Turner, threatening to inflict some major punishment for that dropped catch, walloped Ben Mike for his third maximum only to lose his middle stump to the next ball.

But Coughlin and Ned Eckersley, whose 20 off nine included two sixes in an expensive last over that went for 19 as Walker finished with 2 for 52, helped Durham set a challenging target. Ahmed picked up his second wicket when Brydon Carse found the fielder at long-on.

Leicestershire made a horrible start to their reply. Rutherford – a late replacement as overseas batter after Rahmanullah Gurbaz became unavailable – lost his middle stump first ball to an inswinger by Coughlin, who had Lewis Hill caught at third man in the same over before Lilley holed out to deep midwicket in his second.

At 36 for 3 after the powerplay, Leicestershire’s required run rate was already at almost 10 and the loss of skipper Colin Ackermann, caught at deep backward square off Turner’s offspin in the ninth over, set them back further. Even after Patel found the boundary three times off Carse the Foxes were well off the pace at 70 for 4 after 10.

Ahmed, seemingly nerveless, twice hit Liam Trevaskis over the top for six, but Leicestershire’s already diminishing hopes all but disappeared when Patel was stumped off Trevaskis, who inflicted another blow by bowling Mike for 24 after Ahmed had been caught at mid-on off Coughlin.