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Sales off to a flyer for the Steelbacks

David Sales hit an unbeaten 71, including six sixes, to guide Northamptonshire to a 25-run victory over Somerset in the opening Twenty20 Cup fixture at Taunton.

The Steelbacks smashed 201 for four after being put in, with Andrew Hall (54) and Rob White (45) the other main contributors.

Marcus Trescothick blasted 69 off just 32 balls when Somerset replied. But after his century opening stand with Justin Langer (32), the hosts fell away 176 for seven to the spin of Jason Brown and Nicky Boje, who claimed two wickets each.

White set the tone for the Northants innings, hitting the third ball of the game back over Alfonso Thomas' head for six as he and Niall O'Brien took 19 off the first two overs.

O'Brien was then caught by a diving Steffan Jones at mid-on off Thomas, but there was no let up as White and Andrew Hall lifted the total to 62 off five overs.

White had hit six fours and three sixes in his 20-ball innings when caught at third man by Thomas off Mark Turner, while Hall went on to his half-century off 30 deliveries with five fours and two sixes.

Ian Blackwell briefly applied a brake with his left-arm spin and had Hall stumped giving him the charge. But one over of off-spin from Wes Durston went for 24 as Sales went into overdrive.

Sales was unbeaten at the end, having faced 45 balls. Three of his sixes came in the same over from Durston.

Trescothick might have been run out without facing a ball, but soon profited from his escape with some savagely struck boundaries, including successive sixes off Johann Louw as he reached his fifty off just 20 balls, with nine fours and two sixes.

Such was his dominance that when Somerset had scored 66 off five overs, Langer had contributed only five. The century opening stand came up in 8.1 overs, but Brown then had Trescothick caught at cover and bowled Langer dancing down the track.

At 123 for two in the 13th over, Northants were right back in it.

And the match turned irreversibly their way in the 16th over when Boje (two for 19) removed Blackwell and James Hildreth with successive balls, leaving Peter Trego (45) with no support.

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