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Northants win thriller despite Knight fireworks

TomKnightTom Knight smashed 44 off just 18 balls, but a brutal innings from South Africa international Richard Levi guided Northamptonshire to a four-wicket win a thrilling NatWest T20 Blast fixture at Northampton, writes Neil Bates.

Gareth Cross top-scored for the Falcons with 48 runs and he was ably assisted by Billy Godleman (38) and Knight, who hit 5 sixes in his unbeaten 44, as Derbyshire posted 191-6.

Northants made a quick start in reply thanks to openers Levi (69) and David Willey (40) before Graeme White (12 of two balls) hit successive sixes to see the Steelbacks to victory with four balls to spare.

Losing the toss and asked to bat first, Derbyshire got off to a flyer with Marcus North opening the batting in the absence of Wes Durston. North built a partnership of 67 for the second wicket with Cross that moved Derbyshire to 54-1 after six overs.

North was eventually caught for a run-a-ball 29 and Cross was also caught soon after, top-scoring with 48 from only 33 balls (5 fours and 1 six). Derbyshire lost Wayne Madsen and Alex Hughes cheaply in quick succession which brought the returning Billy Godleman and Tom Knight to the crease with the score at 118-5 from 15 overs.

A partnership of 47 between Godleman and Knight helped propel Derbyshire towards 200. Godleman was eventually bowled for 38 from 24 balls to leave Derbyshire on 169-6 with only an over to spare. 

Knight, having already hit 3 sixes, hit a further two maximums in the final over to finish on 44* from just 18 balls and give Derbyshire a total of 191-6.

Northants’ opened with the big-hitting power of Levi and Willey who put on 96 for the first wicket after 10 overs. David Wainwright (3-26 off four overs) tempted Levi into a big shot and he was caught by Godleman for 69.

Kyle Coetzer and Steven Crook were then quickly removed by the bowling of Wainwright and Alex Hughes respectively to leave Northants’ on 119-3 after 13.3 overs.

Wainwright was in the wickets again soon after as Willey was caught off his bowling - after having scored 40 - to seemingly put Derbyshire in a strong position. However, Adam Rossington smashed 34 off 21 balls to swing the game back in favour of the Steelbacks.

Greg Cork (2-36 off four overs) was brought back into the attack for the 19th over with Northants’ needing a further 17 runs to win. Cork removed Rossington for his maiden first team wicket and then Ben Duckett two balls later. But White came to the crease and hit successive sixes to leave only two runs required off the final over.

Matthew Spriegel hit the winning run for Northamptonshire with four balls to spare to give the Steelbacks a four-wicket win.

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