Samit Patel and James Taylor shared an unbroken stand of 95 to guide Notts Outlaws to a seven wicket victory over Northamptonshire in the Natwest t20 Blast at Trent Bridge.
Chasing 174, the pair came together at 80-3 but Patel hit 58, with Taylor providing ample support with 38 as the pair took Notts to their target with nine balls to spare, Michael Lumb making 45 at the top of the order to kick-start the chase.
Josh Cobb had hit a career-best 84 with good support from Ben Duckett and Adam Rossington to take Northants to what looked a competitive total, but Patel and Taylor ensured Notts cruised home to end a run of three successive defeats in the competition.
The Outlaws’ reply had got off to a shaky start after Alex Hales, who was making his return to Trent Bridge, made only one before pulling Olly Stone high into the hands of Ben Duckett, but Michael Lumb got the reply off and running with 16 off Kleinveldt in the third over.
Lumb hit Stone for four boundaries from the final over of the powerplay on his way to 45 off 27, but fell in the next over sweeping Graeme White to deep square leg.
Riki Wessels pulled Rob Keogh for six, but after reaching 22 in relatively risk-free fashion, tried to scoop Muhammed Azharullah over the keeper and only succeeded in giving Keogh a simple catch at short third man.
The hosts needed 78 from eight overs, but Patel and Taylor took 28 from the next two to put the Outlaws in command, and they never looked back, Patel with a huge straight six off White.
Ahead of the required rate, Patel and Taylor could just milk the singles, together with the odd boundary, before Taylor pulled Stone for six before taking two further fours as 17 came from the seventeenth over to take Notts to the brink.
Stone put down a tough chance running in from midwicket off Patel, who moved to a 32-ball 50 by pulling Kleinveldt for four and finished the job two balls later with his fifth boundary to go with a six, Taylor facing 23 balls for his 38.
The pair needed only 52 balls for their stand as they made light work of a challenging total, after Cobb batted throughout the innings, falling to the final ball, to reach a career best score, hitting three sixes and seven fours in his 56 balls.
The visitors got off to a sluggish start as Richard Levi struggled with his timing, before falling LBW to Ben Hilfenhaus for nine, but Cobb pulled Ball for four and six as they ended the powerplay 44-1.
Together with Duckett, Cobb added 75 for the second wicket, combining the odd boundary with good running and clever shot placement to ensure the visitors kept ticking over without truly bursting into life.
Cobb had his share of luck, seeing two tough catches put down by Steven Mullaney, off his own bowling, and James Taylor, but brought up his second half-century of the season in 31 balls.
The former Leicestershire man hit the accelerator taking 17 off Dan Christian’s first over, but Duckett soon fell as he holed out to long-on off Mullaney, who bowled tidily for 1-28 off his four overs.
Steven Crook and Kleinveldt came and went as Northants threatened to lose momentum, the latter well caught by keeper Wessels after edging Hilfenhaus between his legs, but Adam Rossington ensured the visitors would end with a flourish.
The keeper hit four fours and a six in his 11-ball 28 as the Steelbacks added 36 from the final 15 deliveries; Cobb moving past his previous career best of 80 before being run out attempted a suicidal second from the final ball.
Samit Patel was named man of the match after guiding his side home and said he was delighted to seal the win after a difficult couple of weeks.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks in both four day cricket and t20 wise, so we’re just chuffed to bits to get a win,” he said.
“To a certain extent the nerves were kicking in [in the chase] but we had to try and force the win and it’s great to get over the line.
“On paper we’re a good team, probably underachieving a bit if we’re going to be honest but hopefully this’ll be a massive boost for us.”
As their five match unbeaten run came to an end Northants captain Alex Wakely admitted his side weren’t quite at their best.
“We actually played some good cricket during that game, but I think we were a few runs light and when it came to bowling we didn’t quite get our plans right, and ultimately two guys did play really well.
“Josh Cobb batted really well to bat all the way through and provide us the platform but if we’d got 180 or 185 we’d have been in a very good position.
“We’re in a good position but it’s going to be a crucial part of the tournament coming up now, we won a close one yesterday, lost today so need to get back and regroup.”