BCEW David Townley DT20 Quarter Final
Northants v Metro – 16 July!
Northants reached the T20 cup semi-finals with three balls to spare at the delightful Badby cricket ground as Asif went like a train, a large, powerful 4-6-4 locomotive, from the first three balls of the last over to enable Northants to overtake Metro’s 208 with three balls to spare.
On a beautiful hot day where the shade of the listed trees just outside the boundary was essential for keeping the batting sides cool as they waited to bat and drinks being needed at seven over intervals both for the players and the umpires, all those watching were treated to a classic game.
It was a day for records with umpire Alan Pierce standing in his 1,000th match and more records to follow after the toss had been won by Northants who chose to bowl.
This was the first BCEW visit to a ground of a club that trace their roots back to 1855 and who were able to offer a background as green as possible in a scorching summer, the most generous hospitality, and that great boon of complete peace and quiet.
Northants opted to open with a total bowling the second over of the innings that went for just six as metro’s openers settled in their work.
They reached 50 from 34 balls, and Matt was starting to look dangerous when in Gerald’s first over, his lofted cover drive was caught by Asif on the boundary to bring the drinks beak one ball early with the partnership of 57.
After drinks, the over ended with Amit bowled to leave Gerald on a hat trick. Seven balls later, after Mo had started his innings with two boundaries in two balls, Nick carefully saw off the hat trick ball by defending on the leg side.
Three legal balls later, an elegant cover drive brought up his 1,000 career runs which he celebrated with back-to-back sixes pulled over square leg from a no ball and a free hit. The third wicket 50 partnership came off just sixteen balls, with Mo hitting eighteen from just four balls! Mo holed out to Howard off High’s first ball for a quickfire 32 from 10 balls with all the runs in boundaries.
The next 50 partnership was from a more pedestrian two dozen balls, Justin and Nick adding 77 in total as Asif bowled Nick for 91, having bowled Justin on a free hit ball earlier in the over, from the last ball of the innings.
A much-needed break with an excellent tea followed before Northants began a chase which offered to produce a close game. Metro did not use the Northant’s tactic of opening with total bowler, but started with Rory and Mo backed up by Nick, but skipper David and Howard still almost matched the Metro scoring rate.
At the start of the sixth over, they were just eight behind on 34 as Justin bowled to David, who skied one back at the bowler, who, after a juggle with hands and body, managed to complete a catch.
At that point, the innings mirrored the first as Hugh was bowled first ball to set up a second hat trick ball of the match. After seeing off the hat trick ball, Asif settled into a big-hitting innings with a six over square leg.
At the first drinks break, the difference in scores was just four runs, and the gap widened a little to 18 in the middle of the innings before Asif’s big-hitting matched Mo’s so that the gap was just 11 at the second drinks break with Metro having five partial and one total over to bowl.
Neither innings was chanceless, as the partnership reached 100 from 47 balls; there was a tough chance for Matt to take Asif and Howard was well caught by Nick in the covers on a free hit. The 157 partnership proved a winning one – as an exhausted Howard who had been hit by Mo was trapped LBW by Justin, so 18 were then needed off seven balls.
Gerald, cool as a cucumber, swept to the backward square leg boundary to leave that final over chase to Asif, who finished with 105 from 48 balls with 11 boundaries and seven maximums.
The sides meet again next Saturday in the Primary club 30 over the semi-final and will hopefully also manage to play their league game that was scuppered by the trains in June before the end of the season.
Match report by Paul Toplis
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