IT should have been a cause for celebration, but Paul Collingwood’s fantastic bowling display against Northamptonshire Steelbacks means a nervous night for the Durham all-rounder and his team-mates.
Collingwood became the first ever Dynamos player to take a T20 hat-trick, as he helped his side destroy the visitors, dismissing them for 47 – the lowest ever score in this form of the game in England.
The former England T20 skipper’s superb performance saw him return figures of 5-6, as the hosts climbed back into the fourth place and the final qualifying spot for the quarter-finals.
However, things could all change tonight as Nottinghamshire Outlaws play host to Worcestershire Royals at Trent Bridge and Collingwood admits it will be a nervy time for Geoff Cook’s side.
“I’m sure we will be sitting in front of the TV watching anxiously tonight,” he said. “We couldn’t do anything more than win last night, and it was a great victory, but it’s disappointing its not in our own hands any more.
“We have been disappointed with the last two defeats (away to Yorkshire and Warwickshire).
“It is unfortunate that we have got ourselves in this position, and now we have to hope that Nottinghamshire play like they did against us down at Trent Bridge (the Outlaws won by 54-runs).
Should Nottinghamshire fail to beat Worcestershire this evening, then the Royals will leapfrog Durham back into fourth, and end the North East outfit’s hopes of progressing in the competition.
That made last night’s clash at the Emirates ICG a must-win for the hosts, and while they didn’t enjoy the best of starts, they had more than enough to destroy the Steelbacks.
Durham lost the wickets of Gordon Muchall, Ian Blackwell and Phil Mustard early on, but South African David Miller steadied the ship with 30 from 31 balls.
However, when he holed out to Oliver Stone at deep square leg off the bowling of David Willey, the hosts innings was precariously balanced at 79-4.
Cue that man Dale Benkenstein to the rescue. The one-day and T20 skipper put on 43 in 3.4 overs in partnership with Gareth Breese.
Benkenstein weighed in with 31 off 19 balls to help Durham post a total of 144-7.
It was more than enough, as the Dynamos made easy work of destroying the visitors’ batting line-up.
Graham Onions, recalled in place of Chris Rushworth, struck with his first ball of the night to remove Rob White and set the tone.
But it Collingwood who was destroyer in chief, although he admitted afterwards he hadn’t really been aware of what he was about to achieve.
He laughed: “To be honest, I didn’t realise I was on the hat-trick until I was halfway through my run-up.
“For some reason it hadn’t registered. Then all of the crowd started cheering. Once I realised, I just wanted to bowl as straight as possible, and thankfully he missed it.
“It’s ridiculous, but T20 can happen like that. Batsmen are trying to get after you and if the ball is nibbling around a bit you can pick up wickets.
“I bowled as straight as possible. There was a little bit of swing, and you are going to pick up the odd lbw and the odd bowled when it’s doing that.”
Collingwood was happy to play down his own part in Durham’s success, but was full of praise for his team-mates, and in particular Benkenstein, who produced one of the catches of the season.
He said: “The boys really started off well. I think the opening bowlers set the tone with the ball, and then in the field we were really on top of our game. Catches like Dale’s really do make a huge difference.
“It was fantastic one-hander, and a great diving catch.”