Birmingham v Northamptonshire, NatWest T20 Blast, North Group, Edgbaston July 14, 2017

Keogh brings Steelbacks last-ball victory

ECB Reporters Network

Northamptonshire 160 for 5 (Cobb 48) beat Warwickshire 156 for 4 (Bell 50) by five wickets
Scorecard

Josh Cobb top-scored as Northamptonshire won off the last ball [file picture] © Getty Images

Reigning champions Northants Steelbacks ended Birmingham Bears' 100 per cent start in the NatWestT20Blast with a thrilling five-wicket win at Edgbaston off the last ball of the match.

Put in, the Bears totalled 156 for 4, considerably fewer than looked likely when they were 103 for 1 after 12 overs. The fall of Ian Bell , who made 50 from 35 balls, sent the innings into decline against an accurate attack led by South African spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and seamer Richard Gleeson.

A further blow befell the Bears when a Gleeson delivery rapped Rikki Clarke on the right thumb, forcing him to retire hurt and leaving him unable to open the bowling.

In Clarke's absence, the Steelbacks charged to 40 from three overs as Adam Rossington's ferocious 20-ball 34 set them on the way. Josh Cobb then took up the cudgels with a well-judged 48 and Rob Keogh saw them over the line with a boundary off the final ball.

Birmingham were given a perky start by openers Bell and Sam Hain who added 55 in 37 balls. Hain struck five fours in a 21-ball 30 but perished to left-arm spinner Graeme White's first ball, which he reverse-swept to short third man.

White had just dropped Bell, a difficult chance at point off Gleeson with the batsman on 20, and was made to regret that as Bell reached 50. But he fell next ball, when he lifted Shamsi to deep mid-wicket, and the Steelbacks slammed on such a brake that the next six overs (13 to 18) brought just 31 runs.

Colin de Grandhomme hoisted Shamsi to deep mid-wicket and it became three wickets for three runs in seven balls when William Porterfield sliced White to point.

The Bears' problems increased when Clarke retired hurt and only a belated assault from Aaron Thomason, who hit two sixes in the last over from Rory Kleinveldt, to lift the total over 150.

In Clarke's absence, De Grandhomme opened the bowling and Rossington took to the Kiwi with a vengeance, smashing 24 from his second over.

Jeetan Patel gave the Bears hope by removing Ben Duckett, caught at mid-off, and Rossington, lbw, and Alex Wakely chipped Olly Hannon-Dalby to mid-off, but Cobb and Rob Keogh added 43 from 32 balls. Cobb holed out with the job almost done and just five runs were needed from the last over, from Elliott.

The Bears fought hard and Steven Crook fell to a fine catch by Porterfield at long on from the second ball and the scores were level with one ball remaining: Elliott to Keogh, and Keogh found the cover boundary.

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  • Sanjay on July 14, 2017, 23:47 GMT

    A good, solid competitive game of cricket. The Bears fought hard but Northants never panicked and let the game go out of hand. They're a team with a high level of confidence in this format. Good luck to them for the rest of the campaign.

    Hopefully Rikki Clarke's injury isn't a case of a fractured/broken thumb. We need Olly Stone to regain fitness fast. Lots of players need to step up but two wins out of three is a good start.

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