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Gladiators glide into last eight

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Gloucestershire booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 with a rain-affected eight-wicket win over Northamptonshire.

In their first match since the departure of head coach David Capel, the Steelbacks were reduced to 31 for four before rain curtailed their innings, with Ian Saxelby taking 2-6.

The Gladiators, who are away to Sussex in the last eight, were given a revised target of 23 from five overs and, unsurprisingly, this did not prove difficult as they took just 14 balls to reach it.

Muttiah Muralitharan

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed a wicket as Gloucestershire progressed into the quarter-finals with victory at Wantage Road

It allowed them to overtake Warwickshire after their defeat to the Welsh Dragons and qualify alongside Somerset and Worcestershire.

The result also means that Northants finish bottom of the South Group with just a solitary win and they have now gone two years without a home victory in the competition.

Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to field and they claimed the wicket of Northants captain Alex Wakely in the second over when James Fuller took out his off-stump.

David Willey followed by launching Saxelby to Gladiators captain Hamish Marshall at mid-on before Cameron White edged the same man to wicketkeeper Jonathan Batty with the next ball.

The players were then taken off for rain at the end of the fifth over with the Steelbacks really struggling on 14 for three and their hopes of a first home T20 home win since July 2010 fading.

Play resumed 45 minutes later with no overs lost, but Rob Newton soon departed for 12 when he was caught and bowled by Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

The elements again forced the players off, only this time it was more persistent and this meant the end of the hosts' foundering innings.

Chasing just 23 from the minimum five overs, Gloucestershire lost former New Zealand international Marshall from the first delivery when he was trapped lbw by Willey.

Willey then ran out Australia batsman Ed Cowan from point after an aborted single off David Burton in the second over.

But the winning run came with the second ball of the third over via a leg-bye from the thigh of Ian Cockbain off Lee Daggett.

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