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Hall steers Steelbacks to victory

South African Andrew Hall's five-wicket haul led Northamptonshire to a comfortable 24-run win as they bounced back from two straight defeats to beat the Glamorgan Dragons.

The Steelbacks, who hit 21 fours and six sixes, posted a huge total of 207 and despite a fantastic 98 from big-hitting Herschelle Gibbs the hosts held on for their fifth win of the competition.

Northants began their innings in fine fashion, hitting eight fours and one six in the opening four overs, including smashing Alex Wharf for 20 in one over.

The Steelbacks put on 103 for the first wicket, their highest opening partnership in the competition before Rob White was trapped lbw by Dean Cosker for 49 from 27 balls.

Niall O'Brien went to 50 in the next over, taking 28 balls to reach his half-century, which included six fours and two sixes.

The Dragons almost had O'Brien with the next ball but Ryan Watkins dropped the Irishman at long-off. David Sales joined in the fun, smashing Wharf out of the ground on his way to 1000 Twenty20 career runs.

Watkins atoned for dropping O'Brien when he had the opener caught behind excellently by Mark Wallace for 69 but the Dragons were powerless to stop the Steelbacks as Sales and Riki Wessels continued to add to the scoreboard.

Wessels (19) eventually fell to Wharf when he picked out Ben Wright on the boundary.

Sales went to 53 with another huge six off the bowling of Wharf as the Steelbacks passed 200. Watkins removed Lance Klusener (three) with the last ball of the innings but Sales' 37-ball 57, which included four fours and three sixes, set the Dragons a huge 208 for victory.

Glamorgan made the worst possible start, losing Robert Croft and David Hemp in successive balls as they slumped to nine for two in the second over. Firstly Croft gave Nicky Boje an easy catch at cover and then Steelbacks captain Boje produced a stunning catch to remove Hemp at silly mid-on to leave the Dragons in deep trouble.

Gibbs and Michael Powell provided some fight for the Dragons, putting on 74 for the third wicket before Monty Panesar took a great catch in swirling winds to remove Powell for 36 off the bowling of Steven Crook.

Gibbs brought up his 50 with a six and added another when he fired Panesar back down the ground.

The Steelbacks fought back and Hall picked up Jamie Dalrymple for 26 when he bowled him clean with Mark Wallace soon following, bowled by Hall for two.

Hall brought Gibbs' innings to an end on 98 after Johannes van der Wath caught him at long-off and when Johann Louw removed Wright and Watkins in successive balls the win was completed.

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