Ben Sanderson took three wickets to help send Northamptonshire to a comprehensive 78 run victory over Nottinghamshire Outlaws in this Vitality Blast match at Wantage Road.
Sanderson started wickets tumbling by removing England T20 opener Alex Hales for 0 in the second over. It comes just two days after he accounted for England captain Jos Buttler, also without scoring, in the match against Lancashire Lightning on Friday night.
With heavy rain circling the ground, the visitors were mindful of staying on top of the run rate as they chased a par score of 177 but lost regular wickets with David Willey (2-9) picking up two in two balls in the third over.
The stage had been set by Ricardo Vasconcelos who hit 51 off just 44 balls (six fours) and shared a stand of 53 in 6.3 overs with Willey (22). The middle order all added useful runs, AJ Tye contributing 21 off just eight balls as the Steelbacks plundered 60 runs off the last four overs of their innings despite missing Australian big hitter Chris Lynn (unwell).
The Steelbacks lost Emilio Gay early when he clipped Shaheen Shahn Afridi powerfully to midwicket. Vasconcelos though continued his excellent run of form, but combining power hitting with deft stroke play. He hit Shaheen down the ground for four and crunched Jake Ball through the covers for another boundary as well as deploying the sweep and cut to good effect.
Willey too attacked in the powerplay, cracking the ball through square leg for four when Ball dropped short, he came down the wicket to Matt Carter and deposited him over long-on for four and meted out the same treatment to Ball. His downfall came when he made room to attack Samit Patel but was deceived by one which knocked back his off-stump.
Vasconcelos swept Samit Patel to bring up his fifty off just 40 balls but fell soon after when he cut Carter hard to backward point.
After making his Steelbacks debut on Friday, Justin Broad again showed few nerves, sweeping and driving the ball to the ropes, but fell thanks to a sensational one-handed catch off his own bowling by Patel (2-23).
Saif Zaib (26) and Rob Keogh (20*) then combined in an enterprising stand of 36 runs. Zaib latched onto a beamer from Shaheen dispatching it high over fine leg for six and hit another maximum before he holed out to long-off off Ball.
Keogh gathered two boundaries of his own as the runs continued to flow. AJ Tye had fun in the closing overs, swinging with real intent, depositing Shaheen onto the roof of the Lynn Wilson Centre and hitting three fours as the Steelbacks’ innings ended on a high.
Clarke took the attack to Sanderson’s first over, picking up three consecutive boundaries. The evergreen Steelback seamer soon struck back though, getting one to come back and find the top of Hales’ off stump, before Willey struck twice in the next over. First Colin Munro chipped one up to mid-off before Matt Montgomery drove loosely and was caught at slip.
Clarke ramped Willey for six and had powered four down the ground off Taylor (2-17) when he tried another big shot off the next ball, failed to connect and had his stumps flattened. That left the Outlaws on 48 for four at the end of the powerplay.
Patel looked to regain the initiative. He powered Sanderson through the covers and disdainfully smashed Taylor over long on before collecting two streaky boundaries off Freddie Heldreich. The spinner got his man in the next over though when he holed out to Zaib on the deep midwicket boundary.
Sanderson (3-29) returned to the attack with a double wicket maiden. First he had Tom Moores caught behind off the first ball of his final over and finished his stint by picking up Shaheen when Taylor held onto a steepling catch.
Calvin Harrison skied a catch off Taylor with Willey doing the honours in the field before Carter holed out off Tye.
Mullaney (31) hit a big six down the ground but was the final wicket to fall caught on the boundary to give Heldreich his second wicket.