Attack the perfect form of title defence for Warwickshire in Royal London...

Attack the perfect form of title defence for Warwickshire in Royal London One-Day Cup opener victory over Northants

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It was a glum day at the office for Northants batsmen. Photo © Luke Adams

Sam Hain and William Porterfield shared an unbroken stand of 162 as Warwickshire kicked off the defence of their Royal London One-Day Cup title in dominant fashion, cruising past Northamptonshire by 10 wickets in a rain shortened contest.

After the hosts struggled to 150 all out in the last of their allotted 30 overs, an innings thrice interrupted by showers throughout the afternoon, Warwickshire had no such issues, as the opener pair were untroubled, by either the weather or the Northants attack, cruising to victory with four overs to spare.

The opening weeks of the Championship season have proved a struggle for the Edgbaston side, but just as it did in their run, and victory, at Lord’s last year, a return to One-Day action provided, solace and a welcome return to form.

The same could be said for Hain, who had managed only five runs in four Championship innings, but raced out of the block against the white ball, hitting eight boundaries in the opening five overs, which quickly broke the back of the modest chase, adjusted to 159 by D/L.

“It’s been a good start,” Hain said afterwards. “I think the bowlers did quite well, probably a good toss to win but good to get a few runs and free myself out there.

“The Championship has been a funny one, I can’t buy a run, but in the white ball I know my game pretty well, so it’s nice to go out there not think too much and free myself up and enjoyed it.

“Will has played a lot of one day cricket for us and Ireland so he keeps me under wraps out there, as I keep saying it’s nice to get a few.”

Hain innings was a classical display of straight and cover driving, admittedly helped by some wayward Northants bowling, with his 30th ball worked through the leg side for a tenth boundary to reach fifty, by which point his side were well on the way to victory.

Porterfield was content to play the supporting role as the pair put on a repeat of their partnership against Northants at Edgbaston last year, when they put on 180 on route to an eight-wicket victory, and this time around, although chasing a smaller total, they wouldn’t be separated.

The Ireland captain went to his own half century off 63 balls, whilst Hain would run out of runs to reach a third List A century, but the result was never in doubt during the chase, an altogether more straightforward innings than Northants effort, having been inserted.

As in all the other matches across the country, Warwickshire opted to bowl first upon winning a crucial toss, leaving Northants to battle the conditions as much as the Warwickshire bowlers in an innings that needed five hours to bowl 30 overs, having originally started on time.

Interruptions after two, 12 and 18 overs were met with a batting display just as disjointed from Northants, who in truth never really got going, lost wickets at crucial times and only Keogh’s valiant lone hand took them to the 150 mark.

These were perfect conditions for Rikki Clarke, who was his usual miserly self with the new ball, accounting for Ben Duckett, slashing to cover, whilst taking a smart return catch to dismiss Steelbacks captain Alex Wakely.

Josh Cobb was the only other Northants batsman to make any impression but after his 33 at the top of the order he holed out shortly after resumption number two and when Adam Rossington did the same thing after the third restart, he sparked a collapse of three wickets for 12 as the hosts slid to 105-6, Jeetan Patel with 2-26 from his six overs.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby wrapped up the tail to finish with three to his name, but despite Keogh adding 20 for the final wicket, it never looked like a challenging total, and so it proved as Northants fell to defeat in their opening One-Day Cup match for the third successive season.

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