Steelbacks smash Falcons as another quarter-final moves into sight
The Steelbacks smashed Derbyshire Falcons by seven wickets to all but secure their place in the quarter-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Josh Cobb racked up an impressive 88 and Ben Duckett was also in the runs again, hitting a superb 70 from 56 balls, as David Ripley’s men easily hunted down Derbyshire’s 272 for seven.
The Steelbacks started the day second in the North Group and they are now sitting pretty in the bid to reach the last eight.
Northants have played all eight of their group games and will now wait to watch the outcome of Monday’s matches.
But so good is the Steelbacks’ run rate, they could even enjoy a home quarter-final, which would be played on August 17 or 18.
Derbyshire had started the Sunday showdown well, having won the toss, which was the 11th successive one that Steelbacks skipper Alex Wakely had lost.
Openers Ben Slater and Billy Godleman looked in good touch as they helped their team up to 69 before Godleman fell to Graeme White.
It took a long time for the Steelbacks to strike a second time, with White again the man with the wicket as he dismissed Wayne Madsen to leave the Falcons on 165 for two.
The away side were in good shape, but when Neil Broom was bowled by the returning Richard Gleeson, the Falcons started to fall apart.
Shiv Thakor also saw his stumps knocked over by Gleeson, who then removed Jimmy Neesham with the next ball.
There was no hat-trick for the Steelbacks pace ace, but he soon struck again as he bowled Wes Durston.
Cobb also got a chance to bowl late in the innings, with spin proving effective, and he dismissed Alex Hughes for nine.
But Slater was still there, making his way to a stunning unbeaten 148 from 159 balls to give his side a chance of victory.
However, the Falcons’ belief was eroded by Cobb and Duckett, who got off to a flying start, racking up 74 runs from the powerplay.
Duckett was eventually bowled by Hughes as he attempted another big shot, but Cobb stuck around a bit longer to make 88 from 91 balls before Neesham had him caught by Madsen.
Wakely hit three fours and a six before Madsen took another catch, off Matt Critchley, but Rob Keogh was looking sharp and he reached his 50 from 51 balls.
And Keogh, who ended unbeaten on 63 from 61 balls, and Adam Rossington finished things off to complete a comprehensive victory with eight overs to spare.