Durham’s T20 dreams destroyed

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DURHAM Dynamos endured Friends Life T20 despair last night, as their dreams of a finals day place were ended by an outstanding performance by hosts Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

Cameron White’s destructive half-century saw Northants into next weekend’s Edgbaston semi-finals for only the second time as they beat Durham by 36 runs in front of a vociferous Wantage Road crowd in Northampton.

A strong showing with the bat proved decisive as the hosts, led by former Australia international White, who thrashed 58 from 32 deliveries, produced a polished performance.

Ben Stokes gave Durham brief hope, although his unbeaten 51 off just 29 balls, including four sixes and three fours, came too little, too late.

Having won the toss and electing to have bat first, the Steelbacks made steady progress in the initial stages.

David Willey, promoted to open, joined former Durham batsman Kyle Coetzer and the pair made efficient use of the six-over powerplay which ended at 40 without loss.

It was not spectacular, a decent spell from Graham Onions saw to that, but enough impetus was created for the required acceleration.

That came primarily from Willey, who flailed his way to a 34-ball 46 before an intended sweep saw him bowled by Gareth Breese.

Kyle Coetzer fell shortly after the hundred mark was reached when a smart piece of work from Phil Mustard caught him short of his ground and that set the stage for White.

The Australian duly obliged with a trio of sixes in one Breese over – the 16th – which advanced the score from a potentially average level to one with much more substance.

White motored to his 50 from only 27 balls and with Alex Wakely (20 from 14 balls) lending good support, 79 runs came from the last six overs as the hosts posted a challenging 183 for four.

Durham’s reply did not start too promisingly as both Mustard and Mark Stoneman struggled to get going and it was no surprise when the latter lost his middle stump to Steven Crook.

Already behind the rate, the visitors just could not find the boundary with any regularity and at the halfway point a further 131 runs were needed.

The longer Stokes stayed on the sidelines the less chance Durham had and his arrival in the 12th over when Mustard departed for 46 offered a flicker of hope.

While the promising, big-hitting all-rounder landed a handful of meaty blows in a rapid half-century, his fourth T20 50 of the season, it was to no avail as they fell comfortably short on 147 for six.

Gordon Muchall and Stokes hit 31 runs in the 16th and 17th overs across the 16th and 17th overs, but their already slim hopes were extinguished when Muchall was caught on 29.

H Surrey booked their finals day place by edging a three-wicket win over Somerset with an over to spare. Craig Kieswetter’s tremendous, unbeaten 70 off 51 balls led Somerset to 148-6, but Vikram Solanki (38) and Steven Davies (35) steered the hosts home.