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Brave Brooks ties up Outlaws

Friends Life t20

Jack Brooks

Jack Brooks raises his bat as he narrowly makes his ground to seal the tie despite Chris Read's admirable attempts at a run-out

Jack Brooks took two runs off the final ball as Northamptonshire Steelbacks incredibly sealed their third tie in this season's Friends Provident t20 North Group against Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Wantage Road.

Australia international David Hussey smashed 41 off 32 balls as the Outlaws recovered from 13 for three to post 144 for seven off their 20 overs, with David Willey taking 3-33 for the Steelbacks.

Chaminda Vaas hammered 47 off 30 balls including six fours and one six and the final over featured three run-outs, including the controversial dismissal of Andrew Hall, before Brooks made two runs off the one ball he faced as the result between the two sides at Trent Bridge last month was, remarkably, repeated.

Ravi Bopara celebrated his England recall with an unbeaten century - but it was in vain as Essex Eagles slipped to a six-wicket defeat against Somerset Sabres in the South Group.

Bopara hit 105 not out from 62 balls, with six sixes and eight fours, to lead the hosts to 173 for six but Marcus Trescothick made 78 and James Hildreth 43 before Zander de Bruyn and Jos Buttler saw Somerset over the line in the final over.

Struggling Gloucestershire Gladiators virtually ended Middlesex Panthers' hopes of reaching the quarter-finals by beating them by six wickets with four balls to spare in a high-scoring clash at Uxbridge.

Dawid Malan smashed 86 from 44 balls to underpin the hosts’ total of 185 for eight, captain Neil Dexter adding 38.

Dexter then removed Aaron Redmond and Hamish Marshall to halt Gloucestershire’s racing start but William Porterfield hit 64 from 32 balls and James Franklin 51 not out to see them home with four balls to spare.

Elsewhere in the South Division, Surrey Lions kept their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive with an emphatic victory over leaders Sussex Sharks at Arundel, as skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown’s unbeaten 87 saw them to their target of 122 with eight wickets and 10 balls to spare.

Malinga Bandara’s 3-15 set up Kent Spitfires' six-wicket win over Glamorgan Dragons.

Three wickets for Tim Groenewald took Derbyshire Falcons into the top four places of the North Division courtesy of another win against Lancashire Lightning at Old Trafford.

Lancashire had looked well placed to chase down 164 with Tom Smith and Steven Croft in the midst of a dangerous second-wicket partnership of 61.

But, with Smith having been run out, Croft and Paul Horton were dismissed within the space of three balls by Groenewald in the 15th over to leave the hosts struggling at 119 for four and they lost by seven wickets

Phil Jacques’ unbeaten 78 from 48 balls saw Worcestershire Royals to a six-wicket win over Leicestershire Foxes at New Road.

Skipper Vikram Solanki offered excellent support with 51 from 40 balls as the hosts overhauled Leicestershire’s total of 171 for four, which was built on Brad Hodge’s 70.