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Northamptonshire win by 7 wickets

Northants vs Essex

Finals Day: Northants reach maiden final with seven-wicket win over Essex

Steven Crook celebrates scoring the winning runs against Essex

Northamptonshire Steelbacks booked their place in the Friends Life t20 final for the first time following a seven-wicket victory over Essex in the opening semi-final at Edgbaston.

The Steelbacks chased down 168-5 with 11 balls to spare thanks to a stunning fourth-wicket partnership between Steven Crook (46 not out) and Cameron White (36no).

The pair ensured Essex's losing run in semi-finals continues, the Eagles have now lost all four matches in this stage of the competition.

The men from Chelmsford would have fancied their chances of ending that unwanted record at the halfway stage after late hitting from Graham Napier and James Foster propelled them up to 168-5.

Napier made the most of a dropped catch from Alex Wakely to bludgeon 38 not out from 15 balls, while captain James Foster chipped in with a useful unbeaten 32.

In the balance

Essex and New Zealand opener Hamish Rutherford had earlier made the most of a life of his own to post a quickfire 36, but two wickets from leading wicket-taker in the competition Azharullah kept Northants in control until a late onslaught.

Richard Levi then powered Northants off to the perfect start in reply, cracking four sixes and the same amount of fours to reach his 50 off just 27 balls.

He and opener Kyle Coetzer shared a 74-run partnership inside nine overs for the first wicket, but Essex fought back with three quick wickets to leave the outcome in the balance.

Northants needed something special with 67 runs required from the last six overs and Australia-born duo White and Crook provided it in style.

Tim Phillips and Reece Topley both conceded more than 20 from their final overs and in total 64 runs were added in the space of 20 balls.

Crook finished the match at the start of the penultimate over with a boundary to set-up a final against Surrey later on Saturday.

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Match Details

Date
17th Aug 2013
Toss
Northamptonshire won the toss and elected to bowl.
Venue
Edgbaston
Umpires
N A Mallender, R T Robinson
TV Umpire
M A Gough
Reserve Umpire
R J Bailey

northants BATTING CARD

Batsman R
R.E. Levi c Rutherford b Topley 57
K.J. Coetzer c Bopara b Topley 18
C.L. White Not out 36
A.G. Wakely c&b Masters 3
S.P. Crook Not out 46
Extras 2nb, 2w, 7lb 11
Total 18.1 Overs 171 - 3
Full Batting Card

essex BOWLING CARD

Bowler O M R W
D.D. Masters 4 0 30 1
G.R. Napier 3 0 45 0
S.W. Tait 3.1 0 29 0
R.J.W. Topley 4 0 24 2
T.J. Phillips 4 0 36 0
Full Bowling Card