Nathan Sowter five-for, Graham Clark century see Durham steamroll Northants
Visitors romp to ten-wicket win despite Ricardo Vasconcelos efforts with bat
ECB Reporters Network
Durham 141 for 0 (Clark 102*) beat Northamptonshire 137 (Vasconcelos 52, Sowter 5-15) by ten wickets
Legspinner Nathan Sowter ran riot with career-best bowling figures of 5 for 15 as Northamptonshire Steelbacks were humbled by Durham in this Vitality Blast clash at Wantage Road.
Sowter bagged his maiden five-wicket haul, setting off a Steelbacks batting collapse of 5 for 17 to restrict them to just 137 in their 20 overs. Opener Graham Clark then powered 102 off just 49 balls (13 fours, four sixes) to record his first T20 century as Durham motored to their target with 6.4 overs to spare to win by 10 wickets.
Not for the first time this season, Nortants' head coach John Sadler cut a disconsolate figure. "That was a poor night, disappointing. We got ou-tbatted, out-bowled, out-fielded. It can happen in T20 and it happened to us tonight, unfortunately. We were below par."
Sowter's wickets had stemmed the tide after Ricardo Vasconelos (52) and Saif Zaib shared an enterprising 62-run partnership in 6.2 overs.
That stand came after the Steelbacks lost dangermen Chris Lynn and David Willey in the space of five balls at the start of their innings and gave them a strong platform of 98 for 3 at the start of the 14th over before Sowter ran amok.
Willey's return as captain has not brought an instant turnaround. He won the toss but was soon rueing his decision to bat first as Bas de Leede marked his Durham T20 Blast debut in style. First the Dutch international's inswing accounted for Australian power hitter Lynn who had his off stump knocked back on 0 off the third ball of the innings. Then Willey, playing his 250th career T20 game, was caught behind on 1 to leave the hosts stumbling on 2 for 2.
Josh Cobb struck de Leede twice through point for four and top-edged him over the keeper for another boundary before his innings ended tamely when he offered Sowter a return catch off a full toss.
At this point the Steelbacks were 36 for 3 at the end of the powerplay, but Vasconcelos quickly picked up the mantle, twice powering Ben Raine through the covers. He was unafraid to go the aerial route which kept the fielders interested, benefiting on 15 when Luke Doneathy shelled a difficult chance in the deep running backwards. But he grew in authority, pulling Liam Trevaskis over deep square leg for six and scooping de Leede for four.
Zaib played the supporting role but soon found the boundary with a lovely late cut off Sowter. He had reached 16 when he was dropped off a full toss, called a no-ball for height, before pulling the free hit high over the Family Stand at backward square leg.
At this stage Steelbacks were set for a sizeable total, but the wheels came off when Vasconcelos was caught behind off Sowter and Zaib followed in the next over caught at deep backward square off Raine.
Sowter then struck twice in the space of three balls to remove allrounders Tom Taylor and Rob Keogh, both lbw, before he had Andrew Tye caught behind to give him his fifth wicket. It was left to Trevaskis to mop up with two wickets in the final over.
Clark got Durham off to a flier, smashing 24 off Josh Cobb's first over, including two huge sixes either side of the ground before striking Willey over mid-off for four. He eased to his half-century off just 21 deliveries as Durham moved to 77 at the end of the powerplay.
Cumbrian-born Clark kept going, striking all round the ground, surviving a sharp chance early in his innings and more straightforward ones on 79 and 92. A couple of miscues landed safe but otherwise he looked in complete control, passing his previous highest score of 91 with a huge six down the ground.
Alex Lees was happy to play the supporting role, but found the ropes when he hit Tye for consecutive boundaries