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Warwickshire 147 for 4 dec (Rhodes 44, White 3-37) and 176 for 8 (Burgess 78*, Sanderson 5-42) beat Northamptonshire 250 (Nair 78, Gay 77, Hannon-Dalby 7-46) and 72 for 0 dec (Gay 31*, Hassan 30*) by two wickets
Northamptonshire's relegation from LV=Insurance County Championship Division One was effectively sealed by a two-wicket defeat to Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
The home side overcame a top-order implosion caused by a hat-trick by Ben Sanderson (5 for 42) to chase down an artificially created target of 176 in 60 overs. They lurched to 24 for 5 following Sanderson's hat-trick, but sixth-wicket pair Michael Burgess (78 not out,rom 128 balls) and Ed Barnard (41, 71) added 70 and Burgess batted with skill and composure to see his side home in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 52 with Olly Hannon-Dalby.
Needing a win to preserve any realistic hopes of survival, the visitors had to accept any equation offered to them on the last day of the rain-affected match. Warwickshire vindicated their caution by collapsing early on, but recovered to record a win that pretty much buries Northants. Jon Sadler's side is not mathematically relegated but needs a highly unlikely combination of maximum-point wins from their last two games (Surrey and Essex) and Kent or Middlesex collecting no points at all.
Delivering the agreed target required a morning of faffing about. Warwickshire declared 103 behind and then opened the bowling with wicketkeeper Burgess. Hassan Azad (30, 70 balls) and Emilio Gay (31, 65) enjoyed an outdoor net to add 72 in 22.3 overs before the declaration arrived ten minutes before lunch.
With their side's recent top-order travails in mind, Warwickshire's supporters were taking nothing for granted and duly saw the top five depart for a combined 20 runs in 10.2 overs. Kraigg Brathwaite's unproductive start to his Warwickshire career (42 in four innings) continued when Jack White clipped his off stump and Sanderson then delivered a masterclass of an over.
It brought a hat-trick of the highest quality. Outswingers to left and right-handers respectively saw Will Rhodes caught at first slip and Sam Hain bowled off stump. Dan Mousley, evidently taken by surprise by the clatter as he took a long time to arrive, was soon trudging straight back after edging the hat-trick ball to third slip. When Rob Yates edged Sanderson to first slip, Warwickshire were 24 for 5 and in disarray.
Barnard and Burgess restored order as the pressure lifted after the opening bowlers came off and the pitch eased in the afternoon sunshine. Barnard fell lbw, sweeping, to Rob Keogh in the last over before tea, but a flurry of fours from Danny Briggs provided vital impetus.
Sanderson returned to trap Briggs lbw and when Craig Miles top-edged a strange hoik, No. 10 Hannon-Dalby went in with the last two wickets needing to find 52. While the tail-ender dug in deep, Burgess passed an 89-ball half-century and went on to manage the chase perfectly in a high-class innings which culminated in his third six, the winning hit.
Michael Burgess steers Warwickshire clear of danger to all but seal Northants' relegation
Home side overcomes top-order implosion caused by Ben Sanderson's hat-trick
Washout leaves Northamptonshire's survival hopes looking bleak
With rivals Kent dominating Nottinghamshire, bottom club need unlikely turnaround at Edgbaston
Hannon-Dalby takes seven but Northants fight back through Jack White
Bottom club keep faint hopes alive despite career-best haul for Warwickshire seamer