osh Cobb, Adam Rossington and Dwaine Pretorius powered Northamptonshire to victory at Wantage Road to deny Worcestershire a home quarter-final in the Vitality Blast. Northants chased 189 to win by seven wickets with seven balls to spare.
Cobb’s 62 in 32 balls, Rossington’s 54 from 30 and an unbeaten 50 in 36 deliveries from Pretorius saw Northants end their campaign with victory. It forced Worcestershire into an away tie at Sussex in the last eight when a win would have been good enough to secure the match at New Road courtesy of Nottinghamshire’s heavy defeat to Durham.
Northants’ batting has under-fired this tournament but they enjoyed themselves on a true wicket with Cobb playing a fine captain’s innings. The required rate had climbed to 10.7 at the half-way point but Cobb responded with four sixes in an over from Ed Barnard, the best of them a slog-sweep that sailed out of the ground.
Rossington’s early striking was just as impressive. He advanced at Dillon Pennington to heave six over square leg before dancing down next ball to swing another maximum over long-on. A third six was sent flat over extra-cover in the fourth over before Rossington flat-batted four more through the off side and pulled Moeen to the fence as Northants made 65 in the Powerplay for the loss of Richard Levi, stumped to Moeen’s first ball for 16.
But after the first six overs, Rossington lifted Barnard into the hands of long-on and four overs went for only 16 runs. Cobb’s onslaught then revived the hosts.
Pretorius completed the chase. He started slow with 8 from 19 balls before picking up the task when 40 were needed from 30 balls. He pulled Daryl Mitchell for a flat six over square leg, repeated the trick against Pat Brown before delicately late cutting Brown for four over short-third man in the 19th over as Northants coasted home.
Worcestershire’s 188 for 5 was built around brisk innings from Moeen, Riki Wessels and Ben Cox after Hamish Rutherford holed out to deep midwicket for 19 in the third over.
Moeen bided his time before pulling Blessing Muzarbani almost for six over midwicket and flicking Pretorius for another boundary past short-fine leg. He skipped down to lift Graeme White’s first ball over extra-cover for four more before finding his six-hitting range.
His first was a pull off Nathan Buck that went flat over deep square. A second strike against Buck carried long-on before he took took White for consecutive sixes into the Ken Turner Stand – the second a colossal hit that landed on the roof – as he passed fifty in 28 balls before clipping Pretorius to deep midwicket.
Wessels struck his first boundary with forearm jab against Buck before cutting Pretorius for four. Consecutive sixes, picked up over the leg side, off Faheem Ashraf left Worcestershire 119 for 2 after 12 overs. But like Moeen, Wessels holed out to deep midwicket when well set and when Ross Whiteley swept and missed at Rob Keogh to be bowled for just two, the visitors were 135 for 4 in the 15th.
Ben Cox swept two boundaries off White and drove and cut Muzarabani for fours either side of a leg side heave over square leg for six. Barnard then hammered two straight fours from Buck in the penultimate over but Ashraf nailed his yorkers to only concede five from the final set.
Worcestershire Rapids 188/5 (20) (Keogh 2/12, Pretorius 1/19)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks 189/3 (18.5) (Cobb 62, Rossington 54)
#UONglobalimpact Season Sixes: 47.