Northants overcome Bell to stay unbeaten
Northamptonshire 238 for 5 beat Warwickshire 220 by 18 runs
England batsman Ian Bell's half-century was not enough as his Warwickshire side succumbed to an 18-run defeat against Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Clydesdale Bank 40 at Wantage Road.
Steelbacks' wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien crashed 61 off 46 balls and David Sales finished unbeaten on 60 as the hosts posted 238 for 5 from their 40 overs.
The Bears slumped to 17 for 3 before Bell's knock of 88 off 101 balls and Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf's 72 put them back in business, but Chaminda Vaas' 3 for 45 helped to ensure they fell short. The visitors lost their last seven wickets for just 45 runs and it means Northants maintain their 100 per cent record in this year's competition.
Warwickshire won the toss and elected to field and Andrew Miller quickly took the wicket of Stephen Peters, out caught and bowled to complete an opening wicket maiden. Vaas then departed for 31 when he smashed Darren Maddy to Rikki Clarke at mid-wicket.
But Ireland international O'Brien went on to complete an explosive half-century off just 37 balls before perishing when he was caught and bowled by Maddy. Alex Wakely then went for 27 when he chipped Miller straight to Bell at mid-wicket. Sales stuck around to reach 50 off as many balls but Rob White fell on 47 when he launched Chris Woakes to Keith Barker at deep cover to break a fifth-wicket stand of 82.
Chasing 239, the Bears' reply got off to an awful start when they lost Varun Chopra for a single in the first over when he edged Vaas to O'Brien. Barker (5) threw his wicket away when he recklessly smashed Northamptonshire captain Andrew Hall to Wakely at deep cover before Ireland opener Will Porterfield (10) was run out by James Middlebrook at mid-on.
Bell then completed a composed half-century off 66 balls as he and Yousuf added 158 between them, the latter making it to 50 off 52 balls. The stand was broken when Bell was run out by Peters at point before Yousuf departed when he nudged Vaas to O'Brien to tilt the match back in the home side's favour.
Clarke (8) then needlessly blasted Hall to David Willey at midwicket and Darren Maddy hammered 25 off just 18 deliveries before launching Vaas to Hall at extra cover. Wicketkeeper Richard Johnson departed without facing a ball as he was superbly run out by Willey at mid-off before the same man bowled both Miller and Maurice Holmes to claim personal figures of two for 29 and seal victory.