Jon Lewis pressed his claims for a one-day international call-up with 4-23 as holders Gloucestershire cruised into the Benson and Hedges Cup semi-finals at sunny Bristol.
Jon LewisPhoto © CricInfo
A 66-run victory over Durham was watched by England coach Duncan Fletcher and chairman of selectors David Graveney, which made Lewis' contribution timely from a personal perspective. He removed openers Michael Gough and Nicky Peng as Durham set about a target of 200 to win and later returned to send back Danny Law and Neil Killeen with successive balls.
The visitors looked in with a chance at 103-3, but then James Averis capitalised on some tight bowling and fielding to send back both skipper Jon Lewis and top scorer Paul Collingwood (39) in the space of three overs.
Gloucestershire's Lewis made sure there was no way back for Durham, clinching the gold award with his first ever four-wicket haul in one-day cricket.
Earlier, home skipper Mark Alleyne had elected to take first use of a pitch offering some turn and little pace to encourage quick scoring.
Ian Harvey was the only top-order batsman to hit out successfully, scoring 43 off 37 balls, with 5 fours, coming in after the third-over dismissal of opener Rob Cunliffe.
Despite that acceleration, Gloucestershire were never able to take liberties against a disciplined Durham attack. Off-spinner Nick Phillips and seamer James Brinkley sent down 17 overs between them in mid innings, conceding a combined total of only 46 runs.
There were three wickets each for Killeen and Gough as several Gloucestershire batsmen got starts, but none could go on to a major score and 199 all out looked no better than par.
At the halfway stage Durham had good reason to fancy their chances. But Gloucestershire remain unrivalled at defending modest totals and gradually increased the pressure as they moved to within one match of an unprecedented fifth successive Lord's final.
Afterwards Lewis paid tribute to the team spirit and tight fielding of the Gloucestershire side.
"The boys are very collective on the field, and we are very solid together," he said. "We have some superb athletes out there, and it is very hard to pierce our ring.
"We do not have stars, although Ian Harvey is a fine international cricketer and we just look to play as a team and work for each other. That seems to work for us. If people still under-rate us they are very silly.
He also spoke of his own international aspirations: "I had a good winter tour of the West Indies with England A and hope if I can keep putting in performances the selectors may think of me," he said.