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Bears thrash below par Steelbacks

Neil Carter hit a blistering 52 as Warwickshire thrashed Northamptonshire by nine wickets to overhaul the home side at the top of their division of the Twenty20 Cup.

The 33-year-old smashed four sixes and five fours off just 28 deliveries before Jonathan Trott and Jim Troughton steered Warwickshire home with 4.3 overs to spare and bring an abrupt end to Northants' winning start to the season.

Earlier Ant Botha (three for 15) and New Zealand international Chris Martin (two for 15) rattled through the home side, who posted their lowest ever Twenty20 Cup total of 102.

Northants batted first having won the toss and began positively with Rob White cutting Martin for four off the second ball.

But Martin had his revenge when White (four) was caught by Ian Salisbury in the slips. He then dismissed Niall O'Brien (nine) whose high looping shot was caught by Botha.

Three wickets then fell in quick succession.

First Tim Groenewald had David Sales caught for three by Carter at mid-on, who then disposed of Andrew Hall (14).

And the home side were left reeling on 37 for five when skipper Nicky Boje (five) was run out following a mix-up with Riki Wessels.

The first six of the match was hit by Wessels in the ninth over as he smashed Carter over his head but he fell for 14 as South African compatriot Botha took a simple caught and bowled.

Wickets continued to tumble as Johan van der Wath and Steven Crook both departed for two and by the time Botha claimed his third victim in Lance Klusener (12), the home side were 67 for nine.

Northants' tail did wag and Johann Louw, who hit two sixes in his unbeaten 21, and Jason Brown (13 not out) stuck around to give Warwickshire a three-figure target to chase down.

They set about that task with vigour, Carter heaving van der Wath for six before pulling him for another in the third over.

The South Africa-born all-rounder continued his onslaught two overs later, pulling Crook for six over backward point as well as hitting two fours.

Two consecutive sixes off Crook saw him pass his half century but the fireworks were ended when Brown had him caught and bowled at the start of the ninth over.

Fellow opener Trott (24 not out) was joined at the crease by Troughton (27 not out) and together they eased Warwickshire home.

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