Northants Remain Top with Victory against Somerset

Northants Remain Top with Victory against Somerset

Northamptonshire Steelbacks made it two wins from two completed games in the Vitality Blast, as they beat Somerset by 9 runs in a thrilling match at Wantage Road.

Despite suffering a hand injury during the course of his innings, Adam Rossington top scored with 51 but it was a cameo of 28 from 13 balls from Saif Zaib that took Northants to what proved to be a match winning score of 171-6.

Somerset started well but collapsed from 59-1 to 116-8, and only a 9th wicket partnership between Roelof van der Merwe and Ollie Sale got them close to the target. 

Having been put into bat by Somerset on a chilly Northampton afternoon, the Steelbacks made an encouraging start with Paul Stirling continuing his good form from the win at Worcestershire on Saturday by hitting a six over backward point. 

Craig Overton, though, ended Stirling’s home debut prematurely as the Irish international edged behind to go for 15. Richard Levi followed in the same over, as he was run out backing up to depart for 11 at 34-2 after four overs.

Despite struggling with what appeared to be a hand injury, Rossington played freely striking 7 fours and a six in his innings of 51 from 31 balls. He dominated a partnership of 81 with Josh Cobb for the third wicket before he was smartly taken on the boundary by Ollie Sale off Max Waller. 

Waller was the most impressive of the Somerset bowlers, taking 1-18 in his 4 overs. Cobb batted sensibly and was just beginning to go through the gears when Sale took another smart catch, this time off his own bowling. Cobb was out for 42 at 133-4.

Sale picked up a second wicket when Wakely was caught on the boundary for 11, to finish with figures of 2-28. Gareth Berg was dismissed off the first ball of the final over, but Zaib took 14 off the final three deliveries to end 28 not out and take the Steelbacks to 171-6.

Northants got off to the perfect start with the ball. Ben Sanderson continued his fine form from the Bob Willis Trophy, removing Steven Davies for 5 with just his third delivery.

James Hildreth and George Bartlett then dominated the remainder of the powerplay overs, with Bartlett in particular taking a liking to the Steelbacks seamers. They took the score to 54-1 at the end of the six over fielding restrictions, which was 10 runs more than the home side had managed.

Gareth Berg, on T20 debut for Northants, then broke the partnership removing both batsman in quick succession. Firstly Bartlett was bowled for 24 before a smart catch from Zaib saw the back of Hildreth, who was going well with 34 from 21 balls. 

Somerset were then deep in trouble after losing Tom Abell to Graeme White for 5 and Eddie Byrom to Brandon Glover for 9, leaving them with 78-5 at the halfway mark of the innings.

White finished with the excellent figures of 2-24 from his four overs. He had Green stumped by Ricardo Vasconcelos, who kept wicket in the innings as a sub for the injured Rossington. 

Unlike the red ball meeting between the sides, there was no damage from the Overton brothers with the bat. Craig departed first, holing out off Sanderson for 9, while Jamie lasted just two balls before being caught by Levi. 

Despite some late defiance from Sale, who hit the biggest six of the match, and van der Merwe who made an unbeaten 41 from 25 balls, Somerset fell 9 runs short of their target.

Northants now have two wins from two (completed) games ahead of a home fixture against the Birmingham Bears on Tuesday. Somerset return to Taunton for their next game also on Tuesday against Glamorgan. 


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