Surrey are dismantled as Steelbacks’ trophy drought comes to an end

The monkey can, finally, be removed from Northamptonshire’s proverbial back.

By Alec Swann
Saturday, 17th August 2013, 10:05 pm
Northamptonshire Steelbacks celebrate their t20 final success over Surrey
Northamptonshire Steelbacks celebrate their t20 final success over Surrey

A trophy cabinet somewhere at the County Ground will be piled high with dust given the two decades, and then some, that it has been left bare but now is the time to get out the Pledge.

The acquisition of the Friends Life t20 trophy was the reward for two excellent performances at Edgbaston and a season of consistently good limited overs cricket.

Essex were brushed to one side in the morning-cum-afternoon, mainly due to the Steelbacks’ batting, and that shone again under the lights as Surrey were battered, by 102 runs, into submission.

Northamptonshire Steelbacks celebrate their t20 final success over Surrey

Rapid half-centuries from David Willey and Alex Wakely and a more sedate effort from Cameron White constituted most of a substantial total that proved insurmountable and if you had a few quid on the outsiders prior to the day then good on you.

As for the game, with Kyle Coetzer forced to sit out with a wrist injury - Ben Duckett the replacement - David Willey was moved up to open and it was he who provided the initial fireworks.

A pair of sixes from Azhar Mahmood off successive deliveries in the fourth over gave the innings some early impetus but this was halted moments later as, firstly, Richard Levi had his stumps rearranged and, secondly, a squall of a shower meant a brief interruption.

Forty-five minutes elapsed before the restart and a reduction to 18 overs-a-side but it made no odds to Willey who promptly flayed 20 off Jade Dernbach’s first over.

Northamptonshire Steelbacks celebrate their t20 final success over Surrey

A scoreboard showing 57-1 after the five-over powerplay would’ve settled any lingering nerves as would Willey hurtling to a 19-ball half-century, 44 of which came in boundaries, and that, as is always the objective in the shortest format, created a platform from which the almost indiscriminate swinging could continue.

Anything pitching anywhere near him, or not for that matter, was attacked with relish by the left-hander and it was a pity, if somewhat inevitable, when he sliced Jon Lewis high to deep point to end the fun on 60.

But he could depart with the consolatory thought that it was a job well done and it cleared the stage for Alex Wakely to join Cameron White in a continuation of the mayhem.

With Dernbach - just how has he played international cricket? - at the forefront, if that is the right choice of phrase, Surrey’s attack offered nothing to stem the tide as boundary after boundary was thumped, edged, glanced or hoisted.

Momentum is a difficult thing to quantify in this context but it was clear for all to see and the Steelbacks had it in abundance as the 10-an-over rate was maintained in sparkling fashion.

White, usually the instigator of such an assault, was relatively pedestrian by comparison - he needed 39 deliveries - to Wakely whose 50 occupied just 25, and when Surrey were finally put out of their misery, the damage stood at a colossal 194-2.

To overcome such an obstacle in the response, everything needed to go to plan and losing Jason Roy before any dent had been made wouldn’t have been part of it.

Neither would Steven Davies running himself out following a misfield by Willey - man of the match anybody? - that left the target standing at 160 from 13 overs.

Glenn Maxwell hit a trio of sixes, two in one Muhammad Azharullah over, in a bout of token resistance but it required way more than that and the rest was, much to the Steelbacks’ obvious delight and even including a Willey hat-trick, playing out time before that nice, shiny trophy could be handed over.