Durham’s bowlers produced a fine comeback in the field to keep their Royal London One Day Cup hopes alive with a five-run win over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Tom Latham made 86 in 93 balls to steer Durham to 256 for 7 on a slow wicket before Will Smith and Matt Dixon induced a Northants collapse of 4 for 20 in five overs. 16 were needed from the final over and despite the first ball disappearing for six, Nathan Rimmington held his nerve as Northants could only make 251 for 9.

As in their previous chase against Lancashire on Wednesday, the home side were in complete control of the chase at 167 for 3 in the 37th over with Alex Wakely and Adam Rossington sharing a stand of 129 for the 4th wicket to revive Northants from 38 for 3. 

With the weather seemingly closing in, they played carefully to stay ahead of the DLS score but could never bring down the asking rate down for the full 50 over chase. When the wickets fell, the required rate spiralled and even though Rory Kleinveldt kept Northants alive with 41 in 27 balls with three fours and two sixes, the task proved beyond them.

Wakely made 79, his highest score of the season, passing fifty in 69 balls with just two boundaries. Rossington also passed fifty, his effort in 77 balls, after playing the sweetest of straight-drives for the innings’ first six before skipping down to lift another six over the bowler’s head.

But having lifted Smith over mid-off for four and then over midwicket for six, he holed out to deep midwicket for 66 as Durham regained hope. Smith soon trapped Luke Procter lbw trying to reverse sweep.

Dixon then produced two wickets in four balls. With his first delivery back into the attack, Wakely slapped straight to mid-on before a slower ball deceived Steven Crook and removed his middle stump.

The Durham innings also swung back and forth and it needed a vital 86 from 93 balls from captain Latham to steer the visitors to a competitive score on a slow wicket. He survived a huge lbw appeal against Sanderson on 3 but struck Nathan Buck through cover for his first boundary, advanced at Graeme White to lift him over midwicket to raise the Durham hundred in the 26th before raising fifty in 65 balls.

He eventually slapped a slower ball from Rory Kleinveldt straight to extra-cover for 86 after sharing partnerships of 90 for the fourth wicket with Smith and then 62 for the fifth wicket with Stuart Poynter – stands that saw Durham recover from 35 for 3 after 10 overs.

And when Durham were in need of a late kick Gareth Harte, playing just his second List A match, provided one. He slog-swept White for the first six of the game and swung Sanderson to the midwicket fence, before driving the same bowler through the covers. In the final over he heaved Kleinveldt over the cow corner fence to help add 48 runs in the last five overs – a late rally that proved decisive.

Northants’ captain Alex Wakely said:

“We weren’t quite on it today from the start, we were a bit sloppy in the field, a few chances went down and a few too many runs were scored at the end of the innings to get them a good score on a slow pitch.

“And then we never really got into it batting. We lost early wickets, clawed our way back into the chase, but never really got on top of them.

“Nothing really clicked for us from the start and we now have it all to do next week.”

Durham captain Tom Latham said:

“It’s very satisfying to come here and win a close game that ebbed and flowed. We had a similar game against Derby that we lost so it was nice to correct a few mistakes and come out on the right side here.

“We lost early wickets but got a couple of partnerships together and then upped the rate at the end. We would have liked a few more but had a competitive score and the bowlers did the job.

“They were cruising, always up with the DLS when it looked like the rain was going to come, but we managed to keep taking wickets towards the back end and it’s nice to close it out.”