Northants upset the Bears
The Steelbacks upset the form book by beating the Bears at Edgbaston thanks to Johann Louw's 2 for 6.
Graeme Swann held his nerve to smash the Steelbacks to their first Twenty20 Cup win of the season last night. After three defeats, Northants might be out of the competition, but they showed some grit to win by four wickets at Edgbaston after three losses at the venue this season. On a bowlers' wicket, Johann Louw recorded the most economical figures in the competition with two for six off his four overs to restrict the Bears to 123.
With two overs to go, the Steelbacks needed 18 to win. Swann had already had one reprieve from the third umpire, but he swept Mark Wagh for four and then a six over square leg to make things comfortable with eight needed off the last eight balls. Gerry Brophy decided to make things interesting by running himself out, but Swann skipped down the wicket to lift Wagh for another six and settle things with an over to spare.
The win was set up by a superb bowling effort on a wicket that seamed and spun. Neil Carter smashed the first two balls for four and six, but once he was caught off the leading edge, Northants quickly got on top.
That was down to an excellent opening spell from Louw. The South African mixed up slower balls with seamers superbly in his most impressive display for the County. Just one run came off his first over and he then produced an unplayable delivery to bowl Mark Wagh.
Ripping his fingers down the side of the ball it pitched on leg and hit off to leave Wagh dumfounded. He then nipped one back to bowl dangerman Hogg for a double wicket maiden. Ian Bell was caught behind as he opened the face and Ben Phillips had Nick Knight caught at mid-wicket with a clever slower ball to make it 26 for four in the eighth over.
Jonathan Trott steadied things by putting on 60 with Trevor Penney, but the Steelbacks looked in total control as Tim Roberts and Martin van Jaarsveld found the gaps and boundaries in the chase. But the introduction of Brad Hogg spread fresh doubt among the Northants ranks as he grabbed three wickets in three overs. Van Jaarsveld was bowled coming down the wicket, Roberts lbw sweeping and Usman Afzaal left stranded when he tried to charge the Aussie.
It looked like four when Swann started walking after missing a reverse sweep and seeing it hit Keith Piper's pads and onto his stumps, but the third umpire decided his foot was down and Swann made sure his reprieve was not wasted.
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