Imran Tahir enjoyed a dream T20 debut for Nottinghamshire to inflict a first home defeat on Northamptonshire in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast.
Tahir’s 3 for 13 in four overs, and 3 for 12 in 14 balls from Steven Mullaney saw Northants bowled out for just 122 in 18.2 overs, a target Notts took 17 overs overs to knock off to win by six wickets with a fine captain’s innings from Dan Christian who made a 28-ball fifty.
Richard Gleeson caused the Notts chase a few early nerves trapping Riki Wessels lbw in his first over and running out Greg Smith in his second to leave the visitors 22 for 2 in the fourth over but there was little to stop Notts picking up a fourth win of the season.
With little pressure in the second innings, Christian broke the back of the chase with some fine hitting in his 56 from 32 balls - his second fifty of the season. The pick of his strokes a thunderous drive through cover point. He shared 79 in 9.3 overs with Michael Lumb as Notts extended their unbeaten run in all competitions against Northants to 15 matches.
The win kept up Notts’ pursuit of a home quarter-final with Northants made to wait before confirming their place in the knockout stages.
Victory was lead by Tahir in the first innings after Notts won the toss. He appeared to have a mesmeric hold on the Northants batsmen as first Steven Crook, lbw trying to sweep, Alex Wakely, lbw playing back, and then Richard Gleeson, tamely chipping to midwicket, all fell in a superb spell.
In partnership with Samit Patel - whose own 2 for 27 in four overs was excellent - the spinners helped collapse the Northants innings from a strong Powerplay of 59 for 1.
The innings had lurched to 107 for 5 before Mullaney was introduced in the 15th over - his second ball brought a return catch from Ben Duckett - the left-hander falling for 29 in 23 balls ended any chance of Northants posting a competitive total. The lower order then fell away as Northants left 10 balls unused having lost 9 for 62 in 12 overs.
It was a remarkable turnaround after Richard Levi and Adam Rossington had given the home side a bright start having lost the toss. Levi lifted two sixes over square leg to ruin Harry Gurney’s second over, another followed in the sixth over but the reintroduction of spin brought his undoing with Patel winning an lbw decision with Levi well placed 35 from 20 balls.
Rossington began with a carved drive over point for four and added a second boundary with a sweetly timed straight drive. But he fell in the final over of the Powerplay, swinging at Jake Ball and losing his middle stump for 22 from 15 balls. It was a sign of things to come from the hosts’ batting.