Levi ton sends Gloucs crashing
Northamptonshire 206 for 3 (Levi 110*) beat Gloucestershire 189 for 6 (Cockbain 60, Willey 4-32) by 17 runs
Richard Levi hit a century off the Gloucestershire attack to lead Northamptonshire to a comfortable 17-run FLt20 victory at Cheltenham. The powerful South African blasted 110 not out off 62 balls, with 15 fours and four sixes, as his side ran up 206 for 3 after losing the toss.
In reply, Gloucestershire plunged to 21 for 3 as David Willey claimed 3 for 5 from his first two overs. Alex Gidman, who hit 49 off 19 balls, and Ian Cockbain (60) ensured respectability, but they were never seriously in the hunt and closed on 189 for 6.
The result means Northants join Glamorgan on eight points from five games at the top of the Midlands/Wales/West Group, while Gloucestershire can forget the quarter-finals, having lost five of their first six matches
After taking a few deliveries to gauge the pitch, Levi loosed off a series of meaty cuts to go with his trademark leg-side shots. He lost opening partner Kyle Coetzer to the first ball of the fifth over, caught by Gidman at midwicket off Tom Smith for 15 with the total on 31.
It was 49 for 1 at the end of the six overs of Powerplay and with two runs added, Cameron White, on 10, was caught on the deep midwicket boundary by Dan Christian pulling a delivery from Benny Howell. Alex Wakely then helped Levi add 89 for the third wicket in 8.4 overs, hitting two straight sixes in an over off the left-arm spin of Chris Dent in his 24-ball 35, which helped take the score to 140 for 3.
The Northants captain was annoyed with himself for giving a catch to long-off in the 16th over, giving Howell a second wicket. But there was no dislodging Levi, who moved to his century with his fourth six, hammered over midwicket off Dent in the 19th over. Crook joined the party with two sixes of his own, one of them bringing up the 200 in the final over, bowled by David Payne. Left-arm spinner Smith escaped the carnage with creditable figures of 1 for 25 from his four overs.
Gloucestershire were left with a mountain to climb after Willey sent back Hamish Marshall, Michael Klinger and Chris Dent inside four overs. At the halfway point the hosts had only made 65 for 4 but Gidman at least made a fight of it with four sixes and four fours as the only home player to match Levi's power.
Cockbain played well without reaching the necessary tempo and got to fifty off 43 balls in the 19th over, but by then the cause was lost.