Vitality Blast
Thu 18 July, 18:30

The County Ground Northampton, Northampton

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Northamptonshire Steelbacks

Northamptonshire Steelbacks

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VS Pre Match {{ statuses[scorecard.match_overview.status_id] }} Day {{ scorecard.match_overview.match_day }} One day T20 The Hundred
Northamptonshire Steelbacks


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Report: Steelbacks v Bears, Vitality Blast

Sam Hain hit a magnificent 93 as the Bears fell agonisingly short of their target, losing by 11 runs to Northants Steelbacks in the Vitality Blast.

Hain and Jacob Bethell looked to be recreating their heroics at New Road last month with a 92-run partnership in the middle overs, but they were unable to propel the Bears past the Steelbacks total. Despite the loss, the Bears are still in control, knowing that a victory tomorrow over Leicestershire will secure the top spot in the North Group.

Saif Zaib hit a blistering 86 off just 41 balls with eight fours and six sixes to set up the Steelbacks’ total of 197. He shared a partnership of 72 in almost seven overs with Ravi Bopara (19) to propel Northamptonshire to a formidable total of 197 for six.

Steelbacks skipper David Willey struck immediately in the run chase taking two wickets in the opening over, removing dangerman Moeen Ali first ball, as the Bears slumped to 11 for three.

But a magnificent 93 from Sam Hain off just 60 balls (10 fours, three sixes) took the match into the final over with the Bears still very much in the hunt.

Hain shared a partnership of 92 in 10 overs with Jacob Bethell who hit 50 off 31 balls (two fours, four sixes) as the visitors bounced back from the early fall of wickets. Despite some more big hitting from Hain and George Garton at the close, they fell short, although they can draw consolation from having already booked their quarter-final spot.

Earlier Garton struck with the third ball of the match, Ricardo Vasconcelos flicking one off his hip straight to Craig Miles at backward square.

Warwickshire’s bowlers put the squeeze on, the only early boundaries coming from leg byes before Willey punched through cover and Northamptonshire ended the powerplay on 40 for one.

Willey fell soon after though, heaving one from Danny Briggs (2-38) to Miles who took an excellent tumbling catch on the deep midwicket boundary.

The Bears broke through again when Bopara chipped Briggs to deep cover and then ended Zaib’s bombardment in the next over when he reached for one from Miles, the ball flying off the top-edge to Hain at mid-off.

Ashton Agar’s stay was brief, departing immediately after taking one huge six off Mousley, Moeen taking a leaping one-handed catch behind square.

Willey struck immediately with the ball collecting the wickets of Moeen and Mousley, both caught behind in the opening over of the run chase.

Next over Ben Sanderson struggled to control the swing, conceding six runs in wides but forced Alex Davies to chop on from a ball outside off-stump. 

Hain and Bethell though were quickly into their stride, Hain taking two boundaries off one Sanderson over. Bethell meanwhile was soon clearing the ropes, depositing White over the food stalls for six and also sending Bopara’s first delivery out of the ground.

Agar bowled tidily but conceded six when Bethell struck him down the ground with as Birmingham reaching 100 in the twelfth over shortly afterwards.

It took a stunning diving catch from White behind square to account for Bethell in Bopara’s second over. Three balls later Chris Benjamin swept Agar, picking out Vasconcelos on the deep square leg boundary.

Hain was still motoring though and despite Birmingham needing 73 off the last five overs at a rate of 14.6, he continued to find the boundary, finding a willing partner in Garton (29).

Needing 39 off the last two overs, Hain swotted a straight ball from Willey down the ground for six and the visitors started the final over bowled by White, with 25 still required. Garton took three off the first two deliveries, leaving Hain with three sixes and one boundary to win. He pulled White for six before taking a boundary. White put down a caught and bowled chance off the next ball but Hain was caught behind off the final delivery.

Sam Hain, said: “T20 is a lot about momentum. And I’ll be honest, in that front six, the momentum was well against us. I found it quite hard to time. It was swinging, nipping, it was proper four-day cricket stuff. But we saw at the back end, especially with Saif, I thought he played brilliantly from ball one. He struck a clean ball. So, credit must go to him. I thought they played well.

“Beth [Jacob Bethell] and I tried to forge a partnership. And Beth at 20, he’s playing some beautiful cricket, he’s a talented lad. He’s rising to the occasion on most days.

“So yeah, 11 runs coming into that last over I thought I was on, clear, but just couldn’t quite execute, so we’ll live and die by the sword.”

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