DURHAM'S one-day skipper Mark Stoneman held his side's stuttering innings together and emerged with the county's second highest Twenty20 score last night.

His 89 not out helped Durham recover from 98 for five in the 14th over to reach 163 for five, which proved good enough to win the NatWest T20 Blast match at home to Leicestershire by 38 runs.

Only Phil Mustard, with 91 at home to Yorkshire two years ago, has scored more in a T20 innings for Durham.

It was also a good night for Usman Arshad, who contributed 28 off 19 balls to the unbroken stand of 65 when Durham had looked like squandering another good start.

Arshad then took two wickets in two balls in the third over of the reply and followed up with a third when Ryan Pringle leapt to hold a brilliant catch two inches inside the long-on boundary.

That denied a fourth six to Tom Wells, the only batsman who threatened to take the Foxes close. Arshad had three for 18 and John Hastings cleaned up the tail to finish with three for ten as the visitors were dismissed for 125 with one ball unused.

The victory ended a run of three defeats and rekindled Durham's fading hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals as they prepare to visit Worcester tomorrow.

Stoneman survived difficult chances off skied leg-side shots on 27 and 73 and cashed in with two straight sixes in the last three overs off Ben Raine.

It was back to earth with a bump for Sunderland-born Raine after conceding only five in the final over to secure a tie against Yorkshire.

His opening two overs cost 26 and a further 30 came off his two at the end as Usman Arshad.

In making three previous half-centuries, Stoneman's T20 best was the 57 he scored at Old Trafford this year.

After being put in on a glorious evening, Durham again lost their way after a good start, which saw 45 on the board after four overs.

They were stifled by the off-spin of Rob Sayer, a 20-year-old from Huntingdon whose only previous first team appearance was in a one-day match against New Zealand last month.

He wasn't afraid to pitch the ball up and took both wickets through Gordon Muchall and Pringle clipping to wide mid-on.

Leicestershire were without their big-hitting Australian skipper Mark Cosgrove, whose wife was about to give birth. That was a blow for them in what they saw as a crucial game as they are about to lose the O'Brien brothers, Niall and Kevin, to Ireland.

Mustard swept and reverse swept the first two balls of the match from off-spinner Jigar Naik to the boundary and in the second over Stoneman pulled successive balls from Raine for four.

The customary wobble began when Mustard edged an attempted pull off Clint McKay to the wicketkeeper off the first ball of the fifth over.

Only three runs came off the over, two of those off the last ball when Stoneman survived a difficult chance to Wells at deep mid-wicket.

Calum MacLeod shuffled and danced around his crease looking for his specialist T20 shots, but after making ten he was smartly stumped by Niall O'Brien off Naik.

With the run rate falling, Paul Collingwood tried to fetch a Kevin O'Brien slower ball from outside off stump over mid-wicket and bottom-edged into his stumps.

Muchall and Pringle swiftly followed, but the captain found the support he needed from Arshad.

Stoneman cut O'Brien for his seventh four to reach 50 off 36 balls and faced a further 24 deliveries, in which his only boundaries were the two straight sixes.

Arshad struck the first blows in the reply when Andrea Agathangelou was bowled attempting to scoop a straight ball to fine leg then Kevin O'Brien drove at the next ball and got a thick inside edge to mid-wicket.

Arshad conceded only nine off two overs and at 35 for two after six Leicestershire were under pressure.

Ned Eckersley tried to run Keaton Jennings' second ball to third man and was bowled before the rest of the over yielded only two runs.

Raine had been sent in at four but wasn't threatening any fireworks, so it was going to take something special from New Zealand's Grant Elliott, the acting captain, to make a game of it.

But after contributing to Raine being run out for 19, made off 20 balls, he fell lbw trying to hit Scott Borthwick to leg.

The Foxes had lost the scent of victory by that stage and Wells' three sixes were not enough to get them on track.