Northants go top despite Coughlin's hat-trick
Northamptonshire 161 for 9 (Cobb 68, Coughlin 5-42) beat Durham 135 for 8 (Collingwood 38, Ashraf 3-17) by 26 runs
Josh Cobb's second T20 fifty of the season and a fine debut bowling performance from Moin Ashraf helped Northamptonshire back to the top of the North Group in the NatWest T20 Blast with a 26-run win over Durham.
Chasing 162, Durham's chase was on its knees within four overs as they slumped to 9 for 4. Paul Collingwood and Scott Borthwick attempted a revival but Durham could only limp to 135 for 8 and lost for a fourth time this season.
Paul Coughlin had earlier bowled a triple-wicket maiden to finish the Northants innings which included a hat-trick from the final three balls of the innings - the second hat-trick for Durham in T20s and the second against Northants in the shortest format after Collingwood in 2011. It was scant consolation for Durham. Coughlin finished with competition-best figures of 5 for 42
Ashraf, signed on a short-team deal as injury cover and given his Northants debut here, found some swing to take two wickets in three balls in his opening over - Jack Burnham drove at an away-swinger and edged to a diving Adam Rossington behind the stumps, then Michael Richardson got a leading edge to mid-off.
Ashraf's third wicket came as Phil Mustard attempted a lofted straight drive and only found Steven Crook running back from mid-on. Richard Gleeson also played his part in the early damage as Mark Stoneman, first wicket to fall, dragged into his middle and leg stumps.
"It was tough being released by Yorkshire but I wanted to give it another crack and come back stronger and I'm very grateful for the opportunity," Ashraf said later.
From such an awful position, Collingwood did as Collingwood does, keeping a cool head in a crisis to get the chase moving. He found two boundaries off Gleeson before a delightful in-to-out drive over extra-cover when Graeme White's left-arm spin was introduced. But when he lifted Cobb to Crook at long-on, his stand of 59 with Borthwick ended and with it Durham's chances.
Borthwick nudged the bowling around carefully for 29 in 25 balls but his only boundary was an extra-cover drive off White. He was eventually run out by Rossington, called through for a leg-bye that proved too sharp.
Northants were never put under pressure defending their 161 for 9, build around Cobb's 68 in 47 balls. He followed up his match-winning unbeaten 56 against Worcestershire with a 34-ball fifty here, sweetly timing the ball throughout and striking five fours and four sixes. It was his 10th T20 half-century and he passed 2,000 T20 runs in the process.
He took 14 from the final over of the Powerplay - slapping Coughlin wide of mid-off and midwicket either side of a handsome straight drive for six. His second straight six was timed superbly off Borthwick and when the leg spinner changed ends, Cobb planted him onto the roof of the Lynn Wilson centre.
But there was he little he could do to get away the canny seamers of Chris Rushworth, who bowled a nagging length and changed his pace superbly in a spell of four overs that cost only 17 runs - Rossington's pull for six over deep-backward square the only blot on his figures.
Rushworth took the opening wicket after Northants captain Alex Wakely had given the innings some early impetus with 28 in 15 balls - including a well-timed pull over deep midwicket, a shot that brought his downfall, caught in the deep.
Rossington didn't play as urgently as in previous T20s, getting to 17 at a run-a-ball, but found Coughlin trying to lift Borthwick over deep midwicket.