Northamptonshire 159 for 4 beat Derbyshire 116 by 43 runs
The Northamptonshire Steelbacks boosted their chances of reaching the Friends Provident t20 quarter-finals by beating Derbyshire by 43 runs under the floodlights at Derby. Elton Chigumbura was the star man with 4 for 14 from his four overs and an unbeaten 35 that lifted the visitors to 159 for 4.
The Falcons' hopes of chasing down a 160 target and clinching a top-four place were dashed when they lost five wickets for 14 runs and they were bowled out for 116 with seven balls remaining.
The Steelbacks had to work hard on a slow-ish pitch after they had been put in and lost Chaminda Vaas for a single when the Sri Lankan was unluckily run out backing up in the third over. Although Rob White played two handsome straight drives to the ropes, he went for 20 when a lofted drive off Greg Smith failed to clear mid-off and the visitors were struggling to break free until David Sales found his range.
It looked as if the Falcons would pay the price when Robin Peterson misjudged a catch at deep mid-on which allowed Sales to escape on 18, and he celebrated by hitting the next ball from Smith for six. Sales pulled Peterson for two more sixes in the next over and had moved to 39 off 23 balls when Garry Park bowled him with a full-length ball in his first over.
When Alex Wakely was caught and bowled driving Smith in the 15th over, the Steelbacks were 115 for four but Chigumbura and Andrew Hall added 44 to carry their side to a competitive total. Chigumbura survived an awkward chance to long on when he had scored 21, and then pulled Steffan Jones for six as the Zimbabwean and Hall scored 29 from the last three overs.
Loots Bosman set the Falcons on their way with three fours but the South African mistimed a front-foot pull off Vaas in the third over and lobbed a simple catch to mid on. Smith became the next victim of the pressure the seamers had built up when Smith chipped Jack Brooks to mid on in the sixth over and the home side were sunk when they lost five wickets in four overs.
David Willey started the slide when he took an excellent running catch at long on to remove the dangerous Wes Durston for 18 and James Middlebrook struck in his first over when Wayne Madsen top-edged a sweep. Chigumbura uprooted Peterson's off-stump with the first ball of the 11th over and then had Jon Clare caught behind driving wildly before Lee Goddard was lbw sweeping Middlebrook.
Park became Chigumbura's fourth victim when he was bowled trying to whip him through mid-wicket and the Steelbacks could even afford having Lee Daggett taken out of the attack after he opened with two full tosses above waist height. Jones struck some muscular blows in an unbeaten 26 from 24 balls but the game had long been decided when Charl Langeveldt drove Hall to long off.
It means the Steelbacks will qualify from the North Group if they beat Durham on Sunday, while the Falcons must beat Yorkshire at home and hope Northants slip up at the Riverside.