NORTHANTS WIN BY 7 WICKETS
Adam Rossington’s unbeaten 67 led Northamptonshire easily back to NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day as Northamptonshire comfortably chased 133 to beat Middlesex by seven wickets at Wantage Road.
One significant innings was all that was needed to chase a small target and Rossington provided it. Middlesex still retained hope when 29 were needed from 30 balls but Rossington lifted his third six over square leg to pass fifty in 45 balls and then a bigger maximum over midwicket to kill the visitors hope. Rossington shared a stand of 58 in eight overs with Ben Duckett to break the back of the chase. Duckett slapped Franklin over mid-on for his first boundary and a single took him past 2000 runs in all competitions this season. He then took consecutive fours from Nathan Sowter’s leg spin - a threaded drive through extra-cover and a cut over the same region. He fell for 29 in 25 balls pulling Toby Roland-Jones to deep midwicket.
Roland-Jones struck early with the important scalp of Richard Levi. After a three week absence with a shoulder injury, Levi swung the chase into gear, smearing the first ball he saw from Harry Podmore over long-on but trying to pull Roland-Jones, he top-edged to James Franklin at short fine-line. Northants lost a second wicket when Josh Cobb miscued a drive and was caught at point after briefly sparkling with two straight-driven boundaries off Franklin. But 41 for 2 after six overs was as close as Middlesex came to defending their score.
Having won the toss, the visitors’ 132 for 7 seemed under-par. Their innings was dominated by a partnership of 68 in 9.4 overs between George Bailey and Paul Stirling. But despite setting a steady platform for the visitors they never found momentum through the innings. Bailey made a run-a-ball 46. He lifted Steven Crook over midwicket and then extra-cover in consecutive balls. Graeme White’s first over conceded just three but Bailey found the boundary in his second with a reverse sweep and then rocked back to cut four more past deep cover. He held the key to Middlesex boosting their total but with five overs to go, slapped the first ball of Richard Gleeson’s new spell to Levi at extra-cover. Stirling began strongly - clearing his front leg to smash the final ball of the Powerplay into the members’ stand beyond long-on to lift the score after the first six overs to 41 for 2. He survived a missed stumping on 21 but never regained fluency outside the Powerplay and eventually swung Seekkuge Prasanna to Graeme White at deep midwicket - diving forward to take a smart catch. The stand between Bailey and Stirling was a smart recovery after Middlesex’s leading runscorer fell for a second-ball duck, bowled by Rory Kleinveldt, and Nick Gubbins chopped Gleeson into his leg stump for 7.