Rain ruins exciting finish at Northampton
Spinner Con de Lange took two wickets on his home debut, but rain ensured no result was possible in Northamptonshire’s Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C match with the Unicorns.
All-rounder Luis Reece blasted an unbeaten 27 off 20 balls as the Unicorns posted 79 for three in a match reduced to 10 overs a side with South African de Lange taking 2-19.
The Steelbacks were 16 for one 1.4 overs into their reply, with Dan Wheeldon claiming the wicket of Rob Newton, before the heavens opened forcing the game to be abandoned.
Persistent rain meant a delayed start to the encounter but, after a long wait and five pitch inspections, umpires Trevor Jesty and Richard Kettleborough decided the match would finally begin at 6pm.
With the game beginning over three hours after the scheduled start, the contest would now be much shorter affair with the minimum overs, in which the match could be completed, being bowled.
The Unicorns chose to bat in gloomy conditions and they lost Michael Thornely for just a single with the third ball of their innings when he was bowled by Chaminda Vaas.
It soon began to drizzle again but not enough to force the players off, and wicketkeeper Tom New struck the first boundary when he crashed Vaas for four through midwicket in the third over.
De Lange was brought on in the fifth set of six and he had an immediate impact when he took out James Campbell’s off stump with his first delivery.
With his third ball, he bowled former Leicestershire wicketkeeper New, who made 16, when he missed his attempted drive before captain Keith Parsons smashed two sixes in three de Lange deliveries two overs later.
Luis Reece then scooped a four over third man off David Willey with a shot Tillakaratne Dilshan would have been proud of as he and Parsons added an unbroken 52.
Chasing 80, Northants lost Rob Newton for a single with the third ball of their reply when he was trapped lbw by Wheeldon as the light continued to deteriorate.
And the rain then became much heavier in the second over after Scotland international Kyle Coetzer had hammered Warren Lee for four through square-leg.
That meant a premature end and the Unicorns will look to claim their first win against Sussex on Sunday with the Steelbacks looking to do the same against the Sharks a week later.