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White puts Northants on right track

Friends Life t20

Rob White

Rob White thundered an increasingly powerful 80 as the Steelbacks kept their last-eight hopes alive by beating Lancashire

Rob White blasted a half-century as Northamptonshire Steelbacks kept their Friends Provident t20 quarter-final hopes alive with a 11-run win over Lancashire Lightning at Wantage Road.

White, who has struggled for runs this season, smashed 80 off 58 balls, including seven fours and four sixes, as the Steelbacks reached 170 for four, despite Stephen Parry’s 2-29.

Wicketkeeper Gareth Cross hit an explosive 41 off 22 balls in reply, but it proved in vain as the Lightning fell short of their target, dealing a blow to their bid for a home tie in the last eight in the process.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Lancashire gave Northants an early scare when former West Indies fast bowler Daren Powell almost ran out White from mid-on.

White and his opening partner Chaminda Vaas quickly combined in a jittery stand of 77 before the latter was hit Parry to Steven Croft at long-on in the 12th over.

White went on to reach his half-century from 46 balls, but David Sales departed in the same fashion as Vaas, with Sajid Mahmood this time taking the catch at long-on off Parry.

White then smashed three sixes in consecutive balls off Powell in the 16th over before he finally perished by scooping paceman Mahmood to Tom Smith at extra cover.

Smith bowled Alex Wakely, who made 20, but Zimbabwe international Elton Chigumbura and Steelbacks captain Andrew Hall, unbeaten on 16 and 11 respectively, guided the hosts through the last two overs.

Chasing 171, the Lightning got off to a poor start when Stephen Moore edged Jack Brooks to wicketkeeper David Murphy in the second over.

His fellow opener Smith departed for 16, smashing David Willey to Sales at mid-wicket.

Croft looked composed until he tickled the finest of edges to Murphy off Chigumbura's medium-pace.

Captain Mark Chilton went lbw to James Middlebrook for seven, before Wakely took one of the catches of the tournament, holding onto Paul Horton with a flying one-hander at long-on in the same over.

Former Sri Lanka seamer Vaas then claimed the wicket of Nathan McCullum as the Lightning fell short despite Mahmood’s 27 off 10 balls.

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