T20 Blast: Home quarter-final near for Notts after beating Northants
NatWest T20 Blast, County Ground, Northampton
Nottinghamshire Outlaws 174-6 (20 ovs) beat Northants Steelbacks 152-7 (20 ovs) by 22 runs.
Nottinghamshire ended Northants' defence of their T20 title with a 22-run win at Wantage Road to all but seal a home quarter-final.
A third-wicket stand of 102 between Riki Wessels (64) and Samit Patel (42) got Notts' total to 174-6 with Steven Crook (3-19) and Mohammad Azharullah (3-31) the pick of the home attack.
The Steelbacks' were soon in trouble as Ajmal Shahzad (2-29) had them 9-2.
Kyle Coetzer's 67 was in vain as Northants ended on 152-7.
The Outlaws had been given a lively start by Steven Mullaney and Alex Hales who clubbed eight fours and two sixes between them in the powerplay overs before Mullaney was dismissed by Azharullah for 22 off 20 balls.
Hales' 16-ball knock included three fours and two sixes but when he was bowled by Crook for 28 an over later, Notts were 56-2.
Wessels, whose innings came off 38 balls with six fours and two sixes, became the sixth player to score 1000 runs in T20 cricket for the Outlaws as he and Patel took the score to 158-2 with 16 balls to go.
But four wickets then fell for seven runs as Notts' momentum was checked.
However, the Steelbacks never recovered from Shahzad's early burst with Crook (37 off 23 balls) the only one to offer support to Coetzer as they finished 22 runs adrift.
It was the Outlaws' sixth win in their last six completed matches and takes them two points clear of Worcestershire Rapids, with a superior run-rate, in the North Division with one group game left.
Northants captain Kyle Coetzer:
"We needed to get off to a good start and I thought they bowled really well.
"They picked up a couple of early wickets and that put us on the back foot right from the start.
"They took us on early and maybe we didn't hit the length we wanted to hard enough, but we pulled it back really well."
Notts batsman Riki Wessels:
"We were disappointed coming in having been 160 for two, but it was a conscious effort to go hard with eight wickets in the bank.
"Our bowling has been our strength in the past few games and we haven't put as many runs on the board as we would've liked.
"But Fletch (Luke Fletcher), Harry (Gurney) and Aj (Shahzad) have really pulled it back for us."