Northamptonshire pushed the world’s number 1 ranked T20 side to the final over in a thrilling T20 friendly at Wantage Road.
Josh Cobb won the toss and elected to bowl in front of a capacity crowd with a number of different names featuring in the Steelbacks XI.
The hosts got off to a dream start, Josh Cobb pinning Samson LBW with the first ball of the match. More joy followed as a fired up Brandon Glover produced a double wicket maiden in his first over. First, Tripathi’s attempted scoop only found the hands of keeper Rickelton before a slashing Yadav edged behind immediately after the rain delay.
Glover’s second over was just as impressive, the only runs conceded coming as an inside edge narrowly avoided off stump before scooting to the boundary. Buck and Sales closed out a good powerplay for Northamptonshire’s bowlers, India 27/3 after six overs.
Freddie Heldreich’s introduction in the ninth over brought another wicket, Keeshan pulling out to Glover on the fence who took a good tumbling catch. He was upstaged though as Vasconcelos pulled off possibly the catch of the summer as he dived full length to pluck a firmly hit slog sweep out of the air and end a dangerous Kathik innings on 34.
At the other end Harshal Patel looked in fine touch, five fours and three sixes helped him to a 34 ball half century which proved vital in helping India to a final total of 149/8. Nathan Buck and Brandon Glover both finding late wickets.
Northamptonshire’s reply was stifled by early wickets in the powerplay. With all four of the top order back in the dugout within the opening six overs, the total stood at 49/4. Rickelton was on the receiving end of a superb delivery from Avesh Khan which seamed away to clip the top of off stump.
Zaib was a constant throughout, playing a measured innings which kept the run rate in line with what was required throughout. He was losing partners though, the lower order all contributing handy cameos before India’s quality with the ball prevailed.
11 runs were required in the final over, but Harshal Patel’s strong performance continued as he closed it out to see Northamptonshire bowled out 10 short of the total.