Steelbacks secure first T20 win of season as Bears are left stunned

Rob Keogh notched a career-best 59 for the Steelbacks (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Rob Keogh notched a career-best 59 for the Steelbacks (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

It was a case of home comforts for the Steelbacks as they picked up their first win in this season's Vitality T20 Blast.

David Ripley's men, who had lost at Durham and Nottinghamshire in their opening two North Group games, beat previously unbeaten Birmingham Bears by 21 runs at the County Ground.

Rob Keogh was the star with the bat, hitting an unbeaten 59, but it was the way that the Steelbacks bowled that will have most pleased head coach Ripley.

After rain intervened at the break, the Bears saw their victory target reduced.

They had initially needed to chase down the Steelbacks' 155 for six in 20 overs, but they were set a revised target of 133 from 16 overs.

Northants were in determined mood with the ball, with Ben Sanderson and Nathan Buck both striking with their first deliveries of the match.

And after Graeme White got rid of the dangerous Sam Hain for 29, the Bears were really on the ropes, needing 66 from 39 balls.

Faheem Ashraf bowled Ashton Agar for 17 and then did the same to Adam Hose for 27 as the Bears' hopes faded and the noise levels rose.

Sanderson bowled Will Rhodes for seven, leaving the Bears needing 26 runs from the final over with four wickets remaining.

And Dwaine Pretorius, who more than played his part in a brilliant team bowling effort, finished the job, having Henry Brookes caught on the boundary before Jeetan Patel was run out.

A roar greeted the conclusion of the match as the Steelbacks savoured a sweet success.

Steelbacks: Curran, Rossington, Cobb, Wakely, Keogh, Pretorius, Ashraf, White, Coles, Buck, Sanderson.

Birmingham Bears: Pollock, Burgess, Hain, Hose, Agar, Rhodes, Banks, Wainman, Patel, Brookes, Edwards.

Northants did not have it all their own way with the bat

Northants did not have it all their own way with the bat

Rob Keogh took a tumble

Rob Keogh took a tumble

The Bears claimed six wickets

The Bears claimed six wickets