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Northants brush aside Worcs after Gleeson burst

Richard Levi and Adam Rossington helped blast Northamptonshire to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Worcestershire at Wantage Road

Northamptonshire 160 for 3 (Levi 47) beat Worcestershire 158 (D'Oliveira 52, Gleeson 3-12, Kleinveldt 3-25) by seven wickets
Richard Levi and Adam Rossington helped blast Northamptonshire to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Worcestershire at Wantage Road to keep them firmly in the qualification mix from the North Group of the NatWest T20 Blast.
Levi and Rossington hammered 72 from the first five overs of Northants' chase of 158 and the rest of the innings was a formality as victory came in the 18th over. Northants climbed to second in the table while a fifth defeat for Worcestershire left them teetering on the brink of elimination.
After Richard Gleeson and Rory Kleinveldt shared six wickets to help bowl the visitors out for 158, Levi and Rossington produced a brutal display of hitting. Most of the runs came down the ground with nine fours and four sixes in the opening five overs, with Pat Brown, the 18-year-old playing in just his second Worcestershire match, taken for 26 in two overs.
Rossington, having driven Jack Shantry with particular gusto, made 42 in 20 balls before sweeping Joe Leach - the fifth bowler in seven overs - to long-on.
Levi, after knocks of 41 and 88 on return from concussion, was again in excellent touch and made 47 from 32 balls before chipping John Hastings straight to cover as Northants reached 100 for 3 a the half-way stage, Ben Duckett also out caught and bowled for a three-ball duck. But Northants captain Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh ended any chance of the chase becoming tight with a half-century stand for the fourth wicket, Wakely heaving two sixes over midwicket in his 46 from 28 balls.
Earlier, Gleeson produced a fine new-ball spell after Northants had won the toss. Having not previously taken a wicket in the competition this season he took three in two overs.
Joe Clarke never looked settled and stepped away to swing wildly, inside-edging into his stumps. Ben Cox did the same looking to drive a very full ball just outside the off stump and Hastings received a superb yorker first delivery. His first three overs conceded only 10 runs and he finished by matching his career-best of 3 for 12.
It was an excellent Powerplay for Northants as Worcestershire made only 35 for 3 but Mitchell Santner tried to inject some momentum into the innings with the night's first six over long-on as Steven Crook's only over went for 13. Santner struck another six off Keogh over long-off but picked out the same fielder trying to pump a full-toss.
Santner and Brett D'Oliveria recovered the Worcestershire innings from 58 for 4 in the 10th over - Daryl Mitchell, after reaching 33, was given out caught behind trying to cut Keogh - to 105 for 4 in the 14th. But three wickets then went down for just six runs, including the dangerous Ross Whiteley for just 1, caught at deep midwicket.
D'Oliveria was left with the lower-order to try and cobble together a competitive score. He was dropped by Ben Sanderson diving forward at short third-man on 32 and went on to flat-bat Sanderson, now with ball in hand, down the ground and drove him past extra-cover before heaving a ball out of the ground over midwicket in the penultimate over of the innings, going on to a third T20 fifty in 30 balls
He helped add 47 runs from the final four overs of the innings but it was not enough for Worcestershire.