Northamptonshire had to settle for runners-up spot in the Barbados Twenty20 tournament as the pre-season tour to the Caribbean continues.

A superb knock from Steven Crook paved the way for a comfortable 54-run victory in the semi-final against the host island.

But fellow tourists Nottinghamshire edged the final by just two runs after a disappointing batting collapse saw a strong position evaporate swiftly.

Crook smashed an unbeaten 84 from just 56 balls – featuring four sixes and five fours – in an innings-reviving partnership with David Murphy (30no off 27) to boost the Steelbacks to 184-4 in their 20 overs.

Adam Rossington (46) held the top-order together after Josh Cobb, Ben Duckett and skipper Alex Wakely all missed out.

Barbados then never recovered from an early double-strike courtesy of Mohammad Azharullah who returned excellent figures of 3-25 from his four-over stint.

With Cobb (4-0-14-1) also on target they limped to 128-4 in reply to give the County an easy win.
In the final, Notts’ total of 131-4 owed much to Greg Smith’s undefeated 67 as Azhar (4-0-22-2) again kept it admirably tight.

Olly Stone picked up a wicket in his first ‘competitive’ spell since returning from a back injury, while Academy all-rounder Tom Sole also claimed a scalp with his off-spin.

Saif Zaib set the tone with 25 from just 14 deliveries as Northamptonshire replied strongly – and at 98-3 with six overs to go it looked like the Steelbacks’ game.

Duckett (34) and Crook again (35) enjoyed some time at the crease, only for the innings to fall apart as seven wickets fell for 31.

Northamptonshire were dismissed for 129 with a ball to spare, leaving Notts to claim the silverware.
But – as coach Phil Rowe pointed out afterwards: “The idea here is to practise skills and experiment with the batting order and so on.  So although we’re disappointed to lose we did learn a few things that will influence our T20 cricket this year.”