Durham fend off stunning Gloucestershire fightback to reach Finals Day
Durham Jets 180-5 (Stoneman 61) beat
Gloucestershire 161 (J Taylor 80) by 19 runs
NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final, Bristol
Durham Jets made it through to NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day as they beat Gloucestershire by 19 runs in the first ever meeting between the two sides in Bristol.
Mark Stoneman blasted a half-century and quick runs from Keaton Jennings and Michael Richardson helped lift Durham to a score of 180 for five batting first as they looked to secure a first trip to Finals Day since 2008.
Gloucestershire looked down and out at 61 for six before Jack Taylor smashed 80 in 41 balls to keep the home side alive, only for Durham to hold off their comeback and dismiss them for 161.
Mark Wood, back in the T20 side following his comeback from injury, and Chris Rushworth took two wickets for the visitors, who also had Paul Collingwood warned out of the bowling attack late on - but it didn't matter in the end.
As well as welcoming back fast bowler Wood, they also brought in young batsman Jack Burnham while Gloucestershire handed a T20 debut to wicket-keeper Pat Grieshaber, in the side because Phil Mustard, on loan from Durham, was unavailable.
Durham won the toss and chose to bat although Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger said his side would have bowled anyway had they won the toss.
Matt Taylor opened proceedings with the ball and allowed Durham opening pair Stoneman and Jennings just a single apiece from the first over as both teams looked to get used to the pitch and conditions.
Left-arm spinner Graeme van Buuren kept them to just four runs in the second over as Gloucestershire opted to start with a mix of pace and spin before Stoneman hit Taylor for the first six of the innings over long-off and then cracked a straight four one ball later.
Jennings dished out similar treatment to van Buuren in the fourth over, targeting the short straight boundary as they reached 30 without loss before getting their first glimpse of some right-arm bowling when Andrew Tye replaced Taylor for the penultimate over in the powerplay.
His extra pace hurried the batsmen but they managed to pick up nine runs to keep the scoreboard ticking over and Benny Howell's introduction was greeted by Stoneman cutting the ball delicately to the third man fence. He then edged without control to the same area as Durham completed a busy powerplay on 51 without loss.
Kieran Noema-Barnett was the next bowler tried by Gloucestershire, and the next to see the ball race away to third man boundary via Stoneman's deliberate fine cut, and the first to see the left-hander find the fence at deep cover with another authoratative stroke. Stoneman and Jennings then brought up the biggest opening stand against Gloucestershire of the T20 season to reach 63 without loss after seven overs.
The home side turned back to spin with Jack Taylor coming on and although he could get little turn out of the surface, he bowled a tidy first over, conceding just seven before Howell was back. The change of ends seemed to help as he conceded just five runs, one of them taking Stoneman to a 34-ball half-century, his sixth in Twenty20 cricket.
Durham were finding the going a little harder than at the start and reached the halfway stage at 81 without loss after another tight over sent down by Jack Taylor, after which Howell continued and was immediately hit for two fours in two balls by Jennings. When Stoneman got back on strike he hammered the same bowler over mid-wicket for six but followed it up by failing to clear the ropes and was caught by Hamish Marshall at long-on to be dismissed for an excellent 61 in 41 balls to leave Durham 96 for one after 11 overs.
Burnham joined Jennings at the crease as left-arm spinner Tom Smith came on to bowl the 12th and fired down five wides to allow Durham to bring up their century but it was the pace of Tye that got the next breakthrough when Jennings inside edged onto his stumps for 36 in 30 balls. A fine over from Tye allowed the batsmen just three runs and with two new players in the middle, Durham were 108 for two after 13 overs.
Smith continued and got enough turn to find the edge of Burnham but despite a fine take from Grieshaber standing up, his appeal was not upheld. Burnham (10) briefly made good on his reprieve to hit a straight six but went the same way as Stoneman when he was caught in the deep by Marshall trying another big shot straightaway afterwards.
Howell bowled out to finish with one for 37 as Durham finished 15 overs on 122 for three, having been significantly slowed by Gloucestershire after their excellent start.
Richardson swept Smith (1-34) over the ropes for just his second ever six in T20 cricket and he followed it up with another at the end of the 16th over as Durham began their push to put a defendable total on the board. Another straight six followed off Tye, who was until then looking hard to get away, as Durham reached 150 for three after 17 overs.
Matt Taylor returned and offered up just seven runs from the 18th over but Durham profited from the 19th as Tye delivered a waist-high no ball that went for four and Richardson hit another full toss for four and with one over left, they were 173 for three with Tye returning one for 40.
The final over began with Richardson drilling Matt Taylor to Klinger to end his innings of 37 in 21 balls and he was on a hat-trick when Ryan Pringle offered Marshall his third catch in the deep, which was gratefully accepted. Gordon Muchall (15 not out) saw off the hat-trick delivery and Collingwood (6 not out) reverse swept his first ball for four before Durham finished on 180 for five, those late wickets giving Taylor figures of two for 30.
Experienced pair Klinger and Marshall opened for Gloucestershire as Chris Rushworth opened the bowling for Durham, keeping them to five runs before Wood began the second over with a 92mph leg-side wide. He soon got back on track and his pace proved too much for Marshall, who attempted to pull him away but only chipped the ball to Jennings at mid-wicket having made just four.
Two balls later, Wood delivered again to remove Ian Cockbain, who was caught for a duck by the same fielder after looping the ball into the on-side and at the end of the second over, Gloucestershire were six for two and Klinger was yet to face a ball.
After van Buuren was almost run out trying to avoid a throw, Klinger hit his first ball for four, pulling Rushworth away, although not as convincingly as he would have liked, leaving van Buuren to face Wood, pushing or passing 90mph every delivery with the score on 11 for two after three overs.
The all-rounder responded by pulling Wood to the fence and then cutting through backward point for a second boundary to give the Gloucestershire fans something to cheer but at 19 for two after four overs, Durham remained on top.
Klinger, the tournament's leading run-scorer, hit back by belting Rushworth for two fours and a six in the fifth over but was then brilliantly caught by Richardson, standing up to the stumps as he edged a ball that lifted off a length. He departed for 18 in six balls and after five overs, Gloucestershire were 33 for three.
Usman Arshad bowled the final over of the powerplay and with neither van Buuren nor Howell able to pierce the field, the home side ended it struggling on 35 for three, and they were in further trouble at 43 for four in the eighth over when Scott Borthwick had van Buuren (14) caught by Muchall at deep long-on with his third delivery.
The bad news continued for the hosts when Noema-Barnett was run out for three by a direct hit from Stoneman and they limped to 50 for five after nine overs and 54 for five at the halfway stage as Jennings and Borthwick, allied with excellent fielding, dried up the flow of runs.
Jack Taylor hit Jennings down the ground for four in the 11th over only for Howell (12) to find Stoneman in the deep two balls later as Durham reduced their opponents to 62 for six in 12 overs.
Defiantly, Taylor hammered Borthwick into the stands at mid-wicket, under-edged him to third man for four, then repeated the mid-wicket six as 19 runs came from the 13th over to offer Gloucestershire a glimmer of hope, yet they still needed another 100 runs from the final eight overs.
Collingwood responded by bringing Wood back in a bid to snuff out the counter-attack but Taylor continued to swing hard and immediately picked up a boundary through the covers, then another through third man. Having succeeded in getting the runs required back down to two per ball, Gloucestershire suffered another setback when Muchall pounced on some hesitation from Smith and produced a direct hit with one stump to aim at from backward point to run him out for one.
At 93 for seven after 13 overs, Gloucestershire needed 88 to win in 42 balls but With Taylor on strike, they were still in the game and after he managed to work a Jennings yorker to fine leg for four he finished the over by bringing up Gloucestershire's century as Jennings finished with one for 25.
Arshad returned for Durham and gave away a waist-high no ball which Taylor failed to make the most advantage of with just one run from the free hit as he and Grieshaber tried desperately to get their side back on terms but even 12 runs from the 15th over, after which they were 112 for seven, seemed well short of what was required.
Collingwood brought himself on for the 16th over and did the same as Arshad by delivering a high full toss, but this time Taylor took full advantage, hitting both the no ball and free hit for sixes to bring up his maiden T20 half-century in just 27 balls. Four more came from the next ball, which was another high full toss, meaning that Collingwood was both taken out of the attack and Taylor had another free hit, with Borthwick called on to complete Collingwood's over.
Taylor missed out on the free hit and the 17th over ended with Gloucestershire on 136 for seven, needing 45 to win from 24 deliveries.
Rushworth (2-32) then had Grieshaber caught and bowled for nine, making up plenty of ground as the ball ballooned high into the air, but another flat six from Taylor towards the end of the over left Gloucestershire needing 36 to win from 18 balls. Taylor hit an early boundary off Arshad in the 18th over leaving 27 still to win from 12, as Durham turned to Wood (2-28) to try to close out the game.
Tye faced up and after hitting a single from the first ball, rather than then trying to get Taylor back on strike next ball, attempted a second run from the next ball and was run out to leave Gloucestershire 156 for nine and Taylor joined by brother Matt in the middle.
Matt did his bit to get Jack back on strike, who smeared a four through the covers, but from the final ball of the penultimate over, it was over as both batsmen ended up at the same end after the ball went through to Richardson, who completed the run out to send Durham through to Finals Day.
They are the third side from the North Group to qualify after wins earlier in the week for Notts Outlaws and Northants Steelbacks. The final place will go to either Glamorgan or Yorkshire Vikings, who play tomorrow night.
© Cricket World 2016