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Sales and Loye scupper Panthers

Yorkshire Bank

John Simpson & Alex Wakely

Alex Wakely yorked himself giving Shaun Udal the charge, but it was a rare blemish in a commanding Steelbacks batting display

David Sales and Mal Loye produced an exhibition of controlled hitting as Northamptonshire beat Middlesex by 49 runs in their floodlit Clydesdale Bank 40 clash at Lord’s.

Sales smacked two sixes and eight fours in a 70-ball 84, while Loye’s 69-ball 66 included four sixes and four fours, as Northamptonshire made 264 for five.

Whereas the Steelbacks innings contained nine sixes, the Middlesex batsmen could manage only two maximums between them as they were bowled out for 215 in 39.5 overs.

John Simpson tried hard to keep up with the required rate with 48 at the top of the order, and Neil Dexter himself included one leg-side six off Andrew Hall and a lovely lofted extra cover drive for four off James Middlebrook in a cameo 27.

But the Panthers lost half their side for 108 to all but end their chances.

The result ended Middlesex’s faint hopes of securing a semi-final place from Group B, but for Northants the win was a welcome change of fortunes after they had recorded just one victory in their previous six fixtures in the competition. It lifted them off the bottom of the Group B table.

Loye took an early liking to Pedro Collins’ left-arm pace, twice slog-sweeping him over the short boundary for six.

Rob Newton followed suit when he fetched a ball from Toby Roland-Jones from outside off stump and hit it high over the mid-wicket boundary.

The opening stand was split in the 17th over when Newton’s 44-ball 41 was ended by a catch in the deep and, after Alex Wakely was yorked by Shaun Udal, there was a brief further flurry of strokes by Loye before he was run out by a good piece of work at point by Gareth Berg.

Sales, though, reprieved on three when it was ruled an edge off Roland-Jones had not carried to wicketkeeper Simpson, was soon plundering runs at will.

The experienced batsman added 88 in 12 overs with Peters, who also struck two sixes in 40 from 35 balls, to ensure the Steelbacks total would be a challenging one.

And it was far too much for Middlesex to chase down, especially when Scott Newman was bowled by a superb nip-backer from Lee Daggett for 11.

Then Owais Shah, after a 21-ball struggle for only four, was caught behind cutting at Middlebrook, who picked up three good wickets with his off-breaks.

Dawid Malan mis-hit a pull to midwicket, and Simpson chipped to wide mid-on as Middlesex slipped to 93 for four.

Berg, Tom Scollay and Udal all got starts but were unable to capitalise on them as Northants completed the job.