Northants win by 36 runs
All in all that’s a bit of a thrashing for Durham. They never really got going with the bat, but that was largely thanks to some outstanding bowling from Daggett in particular, as well as Willey and Crook. Cameron White played an excellent innings after Coetzer and Willey had set up a steady platform, and then the seamers made sure their total was never under threat. Neatly efficient from Northants and they’re off to, er, Birmingham! Night.
20th over Durham 147-6 Stokes 51, Collingwood 0. Target 184
So 39 needed off the final over. With not much point to this over, Azarullah, who hasn’t been at his best, gets revenge on Stokes on Cameron White’s behalf with a delivery that zips into his “midriff”. The penultimate ball is a wicket and the final ball a dot, to wrap up a convincing win for Northants.
WICKET! Pringle c Spriegel b Azarullah 2
Slogged down long-off’s throat. Collingwood comes out for the final ball, which he won’t face anyway as the batsmen crossed.
19th over 145-5 Stokes 50, Pringle 1. Durham Target 184
A wide ball from Willey first up is slashed hard for four by Stokes, before he completes an accomplished fifty with a single down the ground from just 25 balls. The PA plays the Stereophonics’ ‘Have a Nice Day’, and the rest of this OBO is cancelled because I just broke my TV in a rage*.
WICKET! Breese b Willey 1
Full delivery takes the outside edge as Breese looks to drive through cover and smashes into the stumps. Ryan Pringle comes in, suggesting Paul Collingwood doesn’t want to risk his thumb in a lost cause.
18th over Durham 138-4 Stokes 45, Breese 0. Target 184
Daggett, who hasn’t made the same mistake Azarullah did in the last over of going for yorkers, will continue with his back of a length deliveries. Having said that he throws down a wide yorker that Coetzer does very well to prevent crossing the extra cover boundary. Another yorker and presumably this must be captain’s instructions to try and make it harder for Stokes to get him away. It doesn’t matter because they can’t get him away, and with that wicket off the final ball Daggett finishes with 1-13.
WICKET! Muchall c White b Daggett 29
Daggett’s done such a good job keeping the batsmen tied down that Muchall is forced to try and hit a ball that was never there to be hit, spooning it tamely to short mid-off.
17th over 132-3 Stokes 41, Muchall 27. Durham Target 184
Back of a length ball from Azarullah first up and Muchall’s pull through mid-wicket beats two fielders on the way to the rope. Stokes then outdoes Cameron White in the big swinging contest, launching a massive six out of the ground over the left handers’ mid-wicket. It’s gone a little slippy from Northants, epitomised by some sloppy fielding that allows the batsmen to scramble an overthrow. Full toss to finish and Stokes smashes into the stands for another maximum. 19 from the over and this is still on.
16th over Durham 113-3 Stokes 27, Muchall 22 Target 184
David Willey – son of Peter – returns. There was talk of him getting an England Lions call-up early on this season and from what I’ve seen of him it doesn’t seem like a bad shout. He’s scored good runs from the lower-middle order in the County Championship this season, which I guess shows that he at least wouldn’t embarrass himself at a higher level. He delivers a nice yorker into the blockhole here, which Stokes turns into a half-volley and hits for a straight six. The response is another yorker, which this time tangles Stokes up. Sadly he follows this with a wide and a full-toss, driven for a lovely straight four.
15th over Durham 99-3 Stokes 17, Muchall 19. Target 184
15 an over needed now and this might be beyond Durham now. Aww. Daggett, who has been outstanding tonight but will probably lose the Man of the Match award to Cameron White even though he arguable deserves it more, has an LBW shout against Stokes turned down first up. I know I’m talking up Stokes like he’s Chris Gayle, but such has been his form lately he’s earned our fear. Daggett has bowled three overs for seven though!
14th over Durham 94-3 Stokes 16, Muchall 17. Target 184
Yep, Crook – who has been just about the quickest bowler on show today despite what the speed gun says – is back. He gets a great yorker into Stokes and then looks annoyed with himself that he could only get a hand to the ball returned high to his right on the bounce off of the bat. They can’t get him away, and six from the over leaves the Durham
pavilion dressing room bench looking mighty grim.
13th over Durham 88-3 Stokes 12, Muchall 15. Target 184
Matt Spriegel comes on to bowl his off-spin, presumably because he’s Sky’s man on the mic and they feel bad about not giving him much to do. His third ball is a long-hop that Stokes muscularly pulls over mid-on for four, and although his 5th is a better ball the England left-hander dances down the track and hits a wonderful straight six. 13 off the over and the crowd is a bit quieter. Can’t imagine we’ll see much more spin now.
12th over Durham 75-3 Stokes 0, Muchall 14. Target 184
With 120 to work with in these final nine overs Wakely is happy to continue with the steady non-turning off-breaks of Middlebrook. He may not after that though, tossed-up half-volley slapped over cover for six by Mustard, who holes out next ball.
WICKET! Mustard c Azarullah b Middlebrook 46
After hitting a clean off-drive for six, Mustard throws away all his good work with a scoop to fine-leg, who is up inside the circle. Collingwood was padded up, but understandably now Stokes comes in.
11th over Durham 64-2 Mustard 38, Muchall 11. Target 184
Azarullah has a large bald spot atop his head, and I think he had it shorn a little bit shorter by that straight drive from Mustard. It’s cut off before the boundary, unlike this flick over mid-wicket by Muchall. Mustard flat-bats another one along the ground past the bowler but Willey pulls off a fantastic stop to prevent the seemingly-inevitable boundary.
10th over Durham 54-2 Mustard 34, Muchall 5 Target 184
A full toss from Middlebrook is swept hard along the ground for a rare boundary through backward square. The thing is you can never really rule Durham out even if they do need 12+ an over, with Mustard, Stokes and Collingwood in the lineup. They only manage nine from this over though, so the required rate creeps up.
9th over Durham 45-2 Mustard 26, Muchall 4 Target 184
Nearly 12 an over needed now, and Northants bring back the man who has an economy rate of 1.0 in this match (off of, er, one over). Daggett is being helped by Murphy standing up to his zippy medium pace but finally concedes a run – it’s desolate in North Eastern overs, you know? – off of his third ball to bring Muchall back on strike. The batsman then gets double that off of the final ball after a throw from the boundary ricochets off the stumps.
8th over Durham 42-2 Mustard 25, Muchall 2. Target 184
Having said that I guess the spinner has to come on at some point, and it might as well be now when the batsmen are struggling to get the ball away. Cameron White skids around on the outfield and needs more treatment on that knee that Stokes hit earlier, but then…
WICKET! Borthwick c Murphy b Middlebrook 4
Goes for the pull off of a short one from Middlebrook but skies an ugly top edge, which Murphy is safely underneath. Muchall is in ahead of Collingwood. I MISS PAUL COLLINGWOOD!
7th over Durham 36-1 Mustard 21, Borthwick 4. Target 184
Crook is finding some good pace here and it’s not surprising that Wakely keeps him on. After seeing what Cameron White did to Durham’s spinners it’s not surprising that he wants to stick with pace, and Borthwick feels rather than sees one skid into his pads from outside off stump. The last ball of the over is a slower one that comes off the edge but goes through the inevitably vacant slip cordon for a much-needed four.
6th over Durham 29-1 Mustard 18, Borthwick 0 Target 184
Northants’ seam attack is what’s propelled them to the upper echelons on the County Championship Division Two and it’s doing a job here too. Daggett comes on and is once again right on the money, relentlessly hitting the perfect length and hurrying the batsman up. Only one comes from a brilliant over, and that’s a stunning powerplay from the bowling side. Ben Stokes could need to move up the order here.
5th over Durham 28-1 Mustard 17, Borthwick 0. Target 184
Mustard gets makes it three boundaries in three balls as he takes a pair from Crook’s opening two deliveries. The first is a neat shout through mid-wicket before the second takes the inside edge and is lucky not to see the batsman either bowled or caught. Durham will need their highest away score of the season and the highest score of anyone at Wantage Road to win this, and it won’t be easy in the dew under the lights.
WICKET! Stoneman b Crook 10
Think this is the first slower ball that hasn’t been smacked to or over the fence. Stoneman heaves with all the elegance of Graham Smith on
ice a cricket pitch and is cleaned up.
4th over Durham 19-0 Stoneman 10, Mustard 8. Target 184
The seriously nippy Azarullah is on to bowl. “Nothing wrong with that shot” says Nick Knight as Stoneman is beaten, slashing wildly at a full one outside off. Nick Knight, if you remember, didn’t play much Test cricket. Stoneman heaves four away off the final ball.
3rd over Durham 12-0 Stoneman 4, Mustard 7. Target 184
There’s no real need for Durham to go crazy just yet, because the pitch is good enough that there should be plenty of runs later on as long as they haven’t thrown all their wickets away early on. That said, Azarullah will bowl later on and this season has 23 wickets at 17ish. Meanwhile Willey is finding a bit of zip under the lights and pushes the required run-rate above 10.
2nd over 8-0 Stoneman 3, Mustard 5. Durham Target 184
It will be fast-medium from both ends with Stephen Crook. I say fast-medium, but his fast ball is a long way past the 84mph speedo clocks it at. That absolutely flew past Stoneman’s nose off a good length. A short, quick delivery is slightly off line and tucked around the corner to the fine-leg boundary by Mustard.
1st over Durham 3-0 Stoneman 2, Mustard 1. Target 184
Durham need to score at a shade over nine an over to win this, but then you knew that, didn’t you? Stoneman and Mustard are opening the chase, whilst David Willey gets handed the ball. Immediately the left-arm seamer beats Stoneman with thee that shape away at decent pace before the fourth is run down the third man for a single.
Why would you…
Ever buy anything from a company whose advert jingle rips off a musical? A musical?
Change of innings
That’s the highest total at Wantage Road this season and a serious target. The openers set a good platform but were allowed to by some very nonthreatening bowling from Durham that never looked likely to take a wicket. Cameron White then utterly dominated the middle overs and Breese, Stokes and Borthwick will be left nursing very sore figures. I’ll be back in a minute for the stiff chase.
20th over Northants 183/4 White 58, Duckett 0
You probably don’t want your death bowler to be your most expensive, but Colly trusts Stokes who has gone for more than 10 an over. It starts so well with a single and two wickets, before Mustard misses a big leg-side wide that goes to the boundary. The last ball of the innings hits Cameron White on the inside of the knee and Stokes misses the run-out as the big Australian hobbles down the ground. White finishes on 58 from 32 balls but also flat out on the ground after taking a blow inside his pads.
WICKET! Crook run out (Collingwood) 0
A good couple of balls in the field for Collingwood. White was on strike and pushing for two, and Crook sacrifices himself without scoring to get White back on strike for the final ball.
WICKET! Wakely c Collingwood b Stokes 20
Smashed straight up in the air by the Northants captain, and his opposite number narrowly avoids a collision with the burly Stokes to hold the catch.
19th over Northants 173/2 Wakely 20, White 53
Wakely tries to improvise something off of Rushworth’s wide yorker, but ends up kind of pirouetting around on his bat handle. White gets an inside edge for four to take him to 48, and the impressive Rushworth – who hasn’t fallen into the trap of bowling slower balls – looks frustrated. He responds by bowling a bouncer with fine-leg up and the Australian hooks it over him to bring up an impressive 50 off 27 balls.
18th over Northants 162-2 Wakely 19, White 43
Scott Borthwick is down to bat at three in this innings, which I guess is why he’s only bowling late on. Cameron White skews his first ball away for four that should have been stopped, before Borthwick gives him a long hop with ribbons and bows and stuff on it; new balls are needed after that one. The batsmen rotate the strike with the next ball, before Wakely hits the second six of the over, flat over mid-wicket. Nothing wrong with the ball but it was a really high-class shot. Oh and Borthwick throws the ball into the ground for no apparent reason, bit childish that.
17th over Northants 144-2 Wakely 12, White 32
Rushworth, who I thought might have bowled more having only gone for six in his first over, returns. Wakely plays a straight drive down the ground for one, which should probably have been four on artistic merit. That’s about as good as it gets for the home side though, as Rushworth backs up my earlier faith in him.
16th over Northants 136/2 Wakely 8, White 28
Carnage off of Breese’s over. After White looked in trouble against the first ball, he put the next two on the roof of the (admittedly tiny) stand at square leg. And then he hits one over cow corner, which I think may have ended up somewhere in my parents’ garden. Suddenly White is on 28 from 17 balls and has taken 19 from that.
15th over Northants 117-2 Wakely 8, White 9
As it stands, Northants are looking at about 150 but on this pitch you’d want at least 25-30 more, especially with the competition’s leading six-hitter in the opposition ranks in the form of Stokes. The new Northants batsmen look like exactly that, both playing some ugly scratchy… awwww that’s gorgeous from Cameron White – driven over mid-off for four, it’s like a cameo by Marion Cotillard in The Elephant Man. Then Wakely is so close to being brilliantly caught one-handed on the square leg boundary, but it just evades the fielder and bounces inside the rope for four.
14th over Northants 105-2 Wakely 1, White 4
I was about to write that Breese is keeping it tight and doing well to keep the run rate down to around 7.5, but then he bowls a leg-side wide so ugly Northants might think they still had Richard Levi playing.
WICKET! Coetzer run-out (Mustard) 44
Ahhh that’s a shame for Kyle Coetzer. He was looking in muscular form but didn’t quite connect with a sweep off Breese. Mustard got the glove off as he ran to silly mid-on, picked up and threw down the stumps with a direct hit. Captain Alex Wakely – the only professional sportsman I follow with fewer Twitter followers than me – is in now.
13th over Northants 102-1 Coetzer 44, White 3
Pringle returns for his second over and finds sharp turn and bounce, beating both Coetzer and ‘keeper Mustard with his second ball as it goes away for four byes. It’s a very dry wicket as is tradition at Wantage Road, but it’s so flat that the spinners are really going to struggle to find any turn regularly. Good over this though, going for just 8.
12th over Northants 94-1 Coetzer 42, White 1
Long-on is too wide to prevent a boundary for Willey off of Breese’s first ball, but…
WICKET! Willey b Breese 46
Willey was brought up to the top of the order to smack it about a bit, and he’s done that nicely. He goes now though, bowled by Breese having a big swing. Aussie slogger Cameron White is the new batsman.
11th over Northants 85-0 Coetzer 38, Willey 42
Colly brings himself back on and has an appeal for a caught behind off Willey rejected. Nick Knight says he didn’t hear anything but I thought there was a slight edge. If only we had DRS, eh? Willey makes the most of his maybe-life and smashes a big six into the back of the stand at square leg, before running approximately six miles outside his off-stump to reach a slower ball (from Collingwood remember) and slash it for four behind point. Ben Stokes makes another athletic stop at long-off off of the fifth ball. That over probably puts Northants just ahead.
10th over Northants 71-0 Coetzer 35, Willey 31
21 year old off-spinner Ryan Pringle is on and immediately Coetzer looks uncomfortable as he misses out on a heave over cover. They steal a leg-bye though and Willey hits a non-turning delivery hard through mid-wicket for four. There’s a crowd of over 5,000 at the ground, including the Northampton Saints rugby team. Boycott Alert In my twenty years of going to see that rugby team I’ve never seen such a collection of garish outfits and One Direction bloody haircuts.
Stokes, whose ungainliness you may remember me mentioning a moment or two ago, pulls off a brilliant stop on the straight boundary, palming the ball back from a straight Willey* drive.
9th over Northants 62-0 Coetzer 34, Willey 24
I doubt Andy Flower is particularly concerned by any criticisms of his England’s lack of aestheticism, but if he was then there’s no way Ben Stokes would be under consideration. Kyle Coetzer creams a slower one over extra cover off the fourth ball of the over, before lofting the fifth back over Gareth Breese and long on for another boundary. It’s a productive 9th over for Northants, with 12 off it.
8th over Northants 50-0 Coetzer 25, Willey 21
6.7 isn’t a terrible run-rate for Durham, but there’s a distinct lack of bite about Durham. Onions will bowl through and has an appeal against Willey first ball, but umpire Hartley reckons it pitched just outside leg. Off the next Willey has a big mow but doesn’t get anywhere near the ball. Because Onions bowls so close to the stumps there are few balls across the left-hander that can be slashed at, and it also increases the likelihood of getting an LBW decision. He doesn’t get one though, although it’s an excellent over with two off the bat and a leg-bye. Onions finishes with 0-23: respectable if unspectacular figures, which reflects his bowling.
7th over Northants 47-0 Coetzer 24, Willey 20
The exicitement of the powerplay is over, so Sky bring Nick Knight on. Collingwood brings Gareth Breese, one of three spinners in the Durham side on now that the fielding restrictions are off. The highlight of the over is a neat lofted flick for a couple into the leg-side by Coetzer. Seven from the over.
6th over Northants 40-0 Coetzer 19, Willey 18
Onions again. His first ball is a slower ball, which Willey again flicks over square leg, out of reach of Stokes coming around and bouncing over the ropes for four. The third is another slower, fuller ball, this time spanked down the ground for another boundary by the left-handed… is Willey an all-rounder now? Onions’ head goes a little as he fires a rank wide down the leg-side, and a near run-out off the final ball is the closest Durham have come to looking like getting a wicket so far.
5th over Northants 28-0
Ben Stokes is on for his first over, Collingwood happy to alternate his bowlers at one end whilst Onions offers steadiness at the other. Stokes is actually the quickest of the bowlers on show so far, reaching the mid-80s, and bowling just short of a length to keep the batsmen back in their crease. It’s a good if unthreatening over until the final ball, which is full on leg stump and dispatched over square leg for a one-bounce four.
4th over Northants 22-0
proud Northamptonian, don’t expect much in the way of neutrality from this OBO. Wantage Road really is a lovely, quaint ground for those who appreciate a flavour of nostalgia with their cricket, so it’s lovely to see Northants having such a great season in all forms of the game. A slower 75mph delivery from the continuing Onions is lofted over long-off for a boundary by Coetzer. Ben Stokes then worsens the bowler’s mood with a pointless shy at the stumps that goes for overthrows. Seven from the over.
3rd over Northants 15-0
Durham only just managed to sneak through their group as one of the best third-placed team, and even then only on the back of a good late run. Chris Rushworth is on now, but looking at the pitch it’s difficult to see where the seamers are going to get any help; on Sky Nasser thinks it’s a spinner’s pitch. Willey isn’t going to miss out on a rank leg-side delivery, flicking it over third man for a
Old Speckled Hen maximum six. That and a leg-by are the only runs from the over, as Willey misses out on another muscular effort off the last ball of the over.
2nd over Northants 8-0
Opening bowler David Willey is also opening the batting with Coetzer, as he has for much of Northants’ limited overs campaign this season. Northants will be looking for him to tee off against Onions, who is bowling a good length here, especially with the low sun providing an obstacle for any leg side fielders against the left-hander. Neither batsman takes any risk though, and there are only three singles from the over.
1st over Northants 5-0
Captain Colly will wobble it down first up. He finds a surprising amount of swing on a warm, dry evening, although Kyle Coetzer finds the gap at long off for the first bounday.
Well we’re not being given much time here, Northants have won the toss and elected to bat. The home side are ostensibly the favourites here, having been the first team to qualify for the quarter finals at the top of their group. They also have the leading wicket-taker in the tournament in Pakistani paceman Azarullah.
Durham though have an in-form Ben Stokes in their side pressing for an England recall – he netted at Old Trafford during the third Ashes Test – and Graham Onions in the bowling ranks. They’re also captained by Paul Collingwood, who knows a thing or two about winning a T20 tournament.
19.08 Good evening
Actually “good evening” sounds a little too refined for Twenty20. It’s the kind of thing you might say upon encountering a patron at a hypothetical day-night County Championship game, or perhaps at a pub where they predominantly have ELO on the jukebox. What is it for a boozy quarter finals evening in Northampton? “G’day”? “Awright mate”? If my heady Northamptonshire days are anything to go by, the latter seems apropos.
19.02 It’s T20!