Despite 58 by Andrew Balbirnie, Glamorgan were beaten by four wickets by the Northants Steelbacks at Edgbaston in the Vitality Blast (writes Andrew Hignell).
Glamorgan made three changes to their line-up which lost against Somerset on Tuesday evening at Taunton with Ruaidhri Smith returning in place of Timm van der Gugten Owen Morgan replacing Kiran Carlson and Nick Selman playing in place of Billy Root. It was Selman who opened with Dan Douthwaite as the Welsh county batted first against the group leaders after the players observed a minutes silence in memory of David Capel, the former Northants all-rounder and coach who died yesterday. Douthwaite struck the first boundary as he pulled Josh Cobb for four, before Selman cover drove Ben Sanderson for four.
Douthwaite then scythed Brandon Glover for six over extra-cover before inside-edging the Dutch international for four to fine-leg. He then pulled Glover for six to wide long-on before being caught at point by Paul Stirling as he attempted another expansive drive against Glover. 29-1 saw the arrival of Andrew Balbirnie with Selman on-driving and cover-driving Gareth Berg for successive fours, before Balbirnie began with a punched drive for four through point against Berg before late-cutting Ben Sanderson for four to bring up the fifty.
Balbirnie also flicked Sanderson to fine-leg for four as the Welsh county ended the powerplays on 58-1 before Selman off-drove Nathan Buck’s first delivery for four. The Steelbacks then switched to spin as Graeme White and Paul Stirling bowled in tandem with the scoring rate briefly dropping until Balbirnie swept White for six. Saif Zaib also had a trundle as the Steelbacks turned to their eighth bowler in the eleventh over on the hybrid pitch which had been used earlier in the day as well as last night in the other televised games at the Bears headquarters.
With the total on 96 Selman pulled Buck to Glover at backward square-leg as Chris Cooke made his way to the middle. Balbirnie responded by late-cutting Cobb for four en route to fifty – his first in domestic T20 - from 33 balls before, with the total on 114, Cooke swatted Paul Stirling into Zaib’s hands at mid-wicket. Later in the over, Balbirnie swept his fellow Irishman for four but on 58 he was yorked by Nathan Buck. Callum Taylor then holed out to another good running catch at deep mid-wicket by Zaib as he swept White before the youngster took another fine boundary catch at long-on to remove Graham Wagg as he drove Buck.
Owen Morgan responded by swatting Buck over mid-wicket for a massive six begore nurdling the bowler to Richard Levi at short third man. Andrew Salter duly harpooned Buck for another maximum over wide long-on before outside-edging Glover for four as Glamorgan ended on 160-7. Prem Sisodiya opened the bowling as Levi and Stirling began the Steelbacks chase with the latter swatting the spinner high over mid-off for four plus a pair of sixes. Salter, who delivered the second over, was then swept by Stirling to backward square-leg for another boundary before Levi pulled Douthwaite’s first delivery for another six followed by an off-drive and another pull for a pair of ferocious fours.
Levi then turned his attention to Smith who he swatted over mid-wicket for six as the Steelbacks reached 50 at the end of the fourth over. Marchant de Lange then removed Levi as Wagg at mid-wicket completed a sprawling catch before two balls later Stirling pulled the South African to Taylor at deep square-leg. 54-2 saw Ricardo Vasconcelos join forces with Cobb who began by pulling Smith for four before his partner square-drove Salter for four. Sisodiya then returned for the ninth over and trapped Cobb leg before as the Steelbacks task became 79 from 66 balls. Alex Wakely began by on-driving Salter for six before scurrying a series of singles with Vasconcelos as the pair chiseled away at their target with de Lange returning in a bid to quell their progress.
Vasconcelos nurdled the Springbok for four but next over Taylor removed the batsman with his first ball as he tried to repeat the stroke. Zaib duly joined Wakely and square-drove the young off-spinner for four but next over he drilled the ball straight back to Taylor and departed caught and bowled. The task had become 36 from 27 balls as Gareth Berg arrived at the crease and cover drove and off drove Wagg for a pair of fours to reduce the task to 24 off 18 balls.
But with the total on 141, Berg chopped Smith onto his stumps as White joined Wakely. He began by scything Wagg over third man for four as the equation was reduced to 12 off 9 balls before a chance was spilled at backward point. White then drilled Wagg over extra-cover for four before Wakely straight drove de Lange for four before winning the game next delivery with a single to mid-off.