Northants Steelbacks 161-8 (Duckett 84, Wakely 53) beat
Notts Outlaws 153-9 (Russell 39, Crook 3-28) by eight runs
NatWest T20 Blast semi-final, Edgbaston
Both Northants Steelbacks and Notts Outlaws lost early wickets but it was the former who recovered better to win the first NatWest T20 Blast semi-final by eight runs at Edgbaston.
Northants produced an excellent comeback to recover from 15 for three to post 161 for eight, almost entirely thanks to Ben Duckett and Alex Wakely while Notts also slipped to the same score but couldn't recovery sufficiently, closing on 153 for nine.
After a short delay due to rain, the Steelbacks were invited to bat by Notts but lost Richard Levi (3), Adam Rossington (1), and Josh Cobb (7) to make a dreadful start as the returning Andre Russell made an ealy impact for Notts.
Duckett and Wakeley then put on 123 for the fourth wicket, Duckett playing the lead role with an outstanding 84 in 47 balls, an innings that was full of clever reverse hits, ramps and drives. Wakely played the supporting role but reached his 11th T20 half-century towards the end of the innings before being run out for 53.
Russell defied what looked like a niggling leg injury to take three for 20 while Alex Hales supported him with two excellent catches in the deep to see off Rory Kleinveldt (0) and Steven Crook (1).
Jake Ball took the key wicket of Duckett, bowled around his legs, after the left-hander had struck 12 fours and two sixes.
The rain returned between innings and after a short delay, Notts Outlaws remarkably found themselves at the same score of 15 for three that Northants had recovered from earlier, losing Michael Lumb (2), Hales (0) and Dan Christian (2) in the powerplay overs.
Northants turned to spin and found success when Riki Wessels was caught for 24 off Graeme White before Russell launched the counter-attack with a quickfire 39 in 18 balls.
It took a superb catch on the boundary from Rob Keogh to end his innings off the bowling of Kleinveldt and reduced the Outlaws to 90 for five. That soon became 92 for six when Crook (3-28) reacted quickly to catch Samit Patel off his own bowling for 21 in as many balls.
Kleinveldt completed figures of two for 24 and after Chris Read (30) fell to Crook, Notts needed 21 from the final two overs
They fell short when Stuart Broad (11), Ball (2 not out) and Harry Gurney (5) were unable to get the runs they needed off Ben Sanderson and Azharullah and Northants, despite letting a few chances slip during Broad and Read's 34-run stand for the eighth wicket, made it through to the final for the third time in four seasons.
© Cricket World 2016