Steelbacks hero Wakely salutes Taylor after welcome win against Lancashire

The partnership between Rob Keogh and Alex Wakely was key for Northants (picture: Peter Short)
The partnership between Rob Keogh and Alex Wakely was key for Northants (picture: Peter Short)

Steelbacks hero Alex Wakely hailed the influence of batting coach James Taylor after Northants secured a superb six-wicket success against Lancashire Lightning.

Wakely notched an unbeaten 109 from 98 balls to see his side home with more than three overs to spare in what was their record List A run chase.

Rob Keogh (69) and Richard Levi (63) also impressed with the bat as the Steelbacks hunted down Lancashire's 324 for eight in Liverpool.

It was Northants' first win in this season's Royal London One-Day Cup following defeats to Warwickshire and Derbyshire and a tie with Worcestershire.

And Wakely was quick to pay tribute to former Nottinghamshire and England batsman Taylor, who has been drafted in as a part-time batting consultant for the 50-over competition.

"It was very clinical chase from us," the Steelbacks skipper said.

"It was an amazing start for us. Richard Levi set the tone but James Taylor has been big for us on making sure that someone is there at the end and that was my role today.

"As a captain you want to be contributing as much as you can but it was a must-win game and it was a good feeling to get the bit between my teeth once I got to 50.

"We haven’t scored enough hundreds over the years but we have three this year and Warwickshire won it with five last season."

Lancashire had done brilliantly to recover from 94 for five as they posted a very competitive total.

But Northants, for whom Muhammad Azharullah took three for 55 and Ben Sanderson two for 76, were able to get home.

David Ripley's men now head to Durham on Sunday.

And they will be desperate to get another North Group win under their belt to keep the momentum going in the pursuit of a top-three spot.

"We needed that win really," Wakely added. "We played some bit-part cricket this year and today was the first time we managed to string it together with the bat.

"We weren’t quite the finished article with the ball and we probably let them get too many from the position they were in.

"They shouldn’t have got 320. We didn’t manage to squeeze them in the middle of the innings, although (Dane) Vilas, (Ryan) McLaren and (Jordan) Clark did play very well."