Durham Jets made it to T20 Finals Day after a 19 run win over Gloucestershire at the Brightside Ground, Bristol. It is the first time since 2008 that Durham have made the big day at Edgbaston and makes it three teams out of three from the Northern Group to go through to the final stage.
Durham posted 180/5, Mark Stoneman top-scoring with 61, and when the hosts were 49/5 the game looked over. But that did not account for the explosive hitting from Gloucestershire’s Jack Taylor who smashed 80 from 41 balls to give the South Group winners a chance. But poor support from the lower order, not helped by four run outs, meant that his valiant effort was in vain.
Durham won the toss and did what Gloucestershire would have done – they chose to bat. Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings got them off to a good start, 51/0 coming from the powerplay. At the ten over halfway mark the Jets had progressed smoothly to 80/0.
Benny Howell, the competition’s leading wicket taker was coming in for some unusual punishment until he got Stoneman for an excellent 60. Jennings went soon after for 36. The innings stalled a little after the impressive opening as the home bowlers began to apply their characteristic squeeze but Michael Richardson restored the momentum with a breezy 37 which took Durham to 180, Gordon Muchall contributing 15.
Gloucestershire’s bowling and fielding was not of the standard to which their fans have become accustomed in this successful season, only Matt Taylor performing well with 2/28 from his full allocation. Brother Jack, bowling again after having had his action cleared by the ECB was also economical conceding 13 in his two overs.
Gloucestershire got off to the worst possible start as Mark Wood roared in from the Pavilion End. They lost Hamish Marshall and Ian Cockbain in Wood’s first over to 90mph plus thunderbolts. All this before captain Michael Klinger had faced a ball. When the Blast’s leading run-scorer did face, he cracked Chris Rushworth for 16 in his third over.
But with the final ball of the over came the game’s defining moment. Rushworth got one to bounce from just short of a length and Richardson, standing up, brought off a wonderful catch behind the stumps. Bristol will not have seen better keeping since the days of the legendary Jack Russell.
Apart from Jack Taylor, the Gloucestershire innings was a poor affair. They were blown away early on by Wood’s pace and found Rushworth almost as threatening. These two took four of the six non run-outs between them in a display of high class quick bowling.
After the game Klinger told Sky Sports that he felt Durham had outplayed his side in all departments and thoroughly deserved their win. Few at the Brightside Ground would disagree.
Man of the Match
Michael Richardson took a terrific catch to dismiss Klinger and contributed a powerful 37 as well as making valuable assists in the four run outs. The watching Phil Mustard, on loan at Gloucestershire as Richardson has taken his place as Durham wicketkeeper, cannot fail to have been impressed.