Northamptonshire beats Durham to clinch Natwest T20 Blast title
Despite being reduced to 9/3 chasing a target of 154, Josh Cobb’s 48-ball 80 helped Northamptonshire clinch their second Natwest T20 Blast title by overcoming Durham by six wickets in the final of the 2016 edition held at Edgbaston on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Northamptonshire defeated a Nottinghamshire side featuring the likes of Alex Hales, Andre Russell and Stuart Broad by eight runs in the first semi-final to book a spot in the final against Durham who defeated Yorkshire by seven runs in their semifinal clash.
It was an action packed day for cricket fans in the country with the two semi-finals and finals being held on the same day with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) doing their part in making the international players available for the matchday despite the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan.
In the end, it was Northamptonshire, the only side out of the four semi-finalists without a Test ground or Test cricketer in their ranks, who came out on top avenging their defeat in the 2015 Natwest T20 Blast final against Lancashire with a victory over Durham with four wickets in hand and five balls to spare.
Skipper Paul Collingwood won the toss and send his Durham side into bat first in the showpiece match but never got going really despite opener Keaton Jennings superb individual effort. Despite scoring 88 from 58 balls, he failed to find any support from the other end with the next highest score being Ben Stokes’ 18. Jennings’ knock which featured five boundaries and four hits over the fence, helped Durham reach 153/8 in their 20 overs.
The lack of support proved decisive in the end as Alex Wakely’s side clinched the title for the second time in four years with the skipper himself playing a crucial supporting role scoring 43 and sharing a 120-run partnership with Cobb for the fourth wicket that helped his side overcome the early loss of wickets.
The partnership, which came off just 78 balls, all but secured the victory for the side and despite some late hiccups, Northamptonshire tasted success with four wickets in hand.
Andre Russell’s streak is ended
Wakely was involved in another century partnership in the semifinal clash as well as he joined hands with Ben Duckett, who hit a career-best T20 knock of 84 from just 47 balls, to defeat a strong Nottinghamshire side which had won their previous nine matches in the format. Batting first, Northamptonshire scored 161/8 and despite Andre Rusell’s brilliant all-round effort, which saw him pick 3 wickets as well as score an 18-ball 39, Daniel Christian’s side fell short by 8 runs.
The story of the second semifinal was somewhat similar with Durham scoring 156 batting first thanks to Ben Stokes 36-ball 56. Though the score didn’t look convincing at the time against a Yorkshire side that had Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance in their ranks, Durham’s new-ball pairing of Mark Wood and Chris Rushworth, who shared seven wickets between them, ensured that their side progressed to the final with a seven-run victory.
The final though proved otherwise for Durham as an almost identical score didn’t prove enough to stop the underdogs Northamptonshire to come out on top in what was a brilliant day of cricket at Edgbaston.
It was a truly special day for Cobb, Man-of-the-Match in the 2011 Natwest T20 Blast final as a bowler for Leicestershire, who had been battling a knee injury for close to six weeks and will now undergo surgery after playing a match-winning knock in the final.Published 21 Aug 2016, 10:23 IST