Tom Taylor scores quickly, propelling Northamptonshire to win

42 off 23 balls were hit by Tom Taylor

In a thrilling match against Sussex Sharks at Wantage Road, Tom Taylor hit 42 off just 23 balls to lead Northamptonshire to their first Metro Bank One-Day Cup victory.

When Taylor and Justin Broad joined forces, the Steelbacks were in serious trouble at 173 for 7, still requiring 70 runs to win in just 7.2 overs.

Taylor, however, is just off his first List. On Friday at Cheltenham, a century against Gloucestershire took advantage of a bowling attack that was primarily inexperienced by blasting three sixes and three fours. With Broad (22), the partnership scored the necessary runs in just 36 balls and still had an over left over.

With two overs remaining and 14 runs needed to win, Taylor smashed a big six against Ari Karvelas before Broad hit another maximum to secure the victory.

The foundation of Sussex’s innings was earlier Cheteshwar Pujara‘s calm, refined unbeaten 106 (119 balls). Pujara was content to play the long game, scoring at over a run per ball and minimizing risk in the face of a disciplined Steelbacks attack in favorable bowling conditions.

He only hit three boundaries in his first 79 runs before picking up two sixes in the last overs to push him above the three-figure mark as the Sharks closed on 240 for 7.

Before Pujara and James Coles rebuilding in a stand of 50 off 50 balls, Northamptonshire’s Jack White had struck in consecutive overs to cheaply remove both Sharks openers.

The lower order kept Pujara company and took the attacking approach as Sussex’s innings came to a rousing conclusion, but Steelbacks captain Lewis McManus’ bowling changes had an impact at crucial points to stem the visitors’ momentum.

Due to rain, the game was reduced to 45 overs per side, and Northamptonshire’s revised aim was 243. However, despite a 57-run partnership between Ricardo Vasconcelos and Sam Whiteman and a valiant 36 from McManus, the Steelbacks appeared to be in trouble before Taylor and Broad joined forces.

Tom Alsop, who drove carelessly to slip, and Sussex captain Tom Haines, who was caught at point early on by White, left them at 21 for 2 in the eighth over. Along with Coles, Pujara mostly served as the anchor, swatting away bad deliveries and favoring the cut shot when the bowlers veered off course while also driving with his feet into the gaps.

Coles was more aggressive and hit four boundaries before being removed in the first over of Rob Keogh’s bowling when the spinner persuaded one to turn around and catch him lbw.

When Keogh tossed one up to tempt Tom Clark to come down the track, his brief visit came to an end. Although keeper McManus first mishandled the ball, he still had time to remove the bails even though the batter had left his base.

The final three wickets were Seam brought. When Fynn Hudson-Prentice drove the ball directly to mid-on during a new spell for White, the goal came nearly quickly. Oli Carter launched a counterattack, but Procter’s new spell proved successful when the batter took a wayward swing and was caught lbw.

Jack Carson attacked Procter after the rain stopped, hooking and clattering him through midwicket before the all-rounder got his wrath by top-edging to backward point. Pujara, however, came to a triumphant conclusion, slicing one square for six and striking the ground for another maximum.

With consecutive boundaries off each of Karvelas’ first three deliveries, Prithvi Shaw got Northamptonshire’s chase off to a good start. However, after a quick 26 runs, he sliced a Brad Currie delivery onto his stumps. Emilio Gay was then caught behind by Currie after what appeared to be a ball hitting his thigh pad.

Early in his innings, Whiteman smashed a string of boundaries but was caught at slip. He successfully used the hook, and with a perfectly timed sweep off Carson, the Steelbacks reached the three-figure mark. However, he was unable to duplicate the stroke and could only top-edge the subsequent ball.

Vasconcelos used creative shots with traditional strokeplay. In order to get off the mark, he punched through a cover for four and drove well as the Steelbacks finished the powerplay at 51 for 2. 

He attacked Carson’s outbreaks, hitting down the ground and pulling across midwicket, but when he chipped directly to mid-on, the spinner lost his second victim. When Procter sliced on to Hudson-Prentice, Northamptonshire rapidly lost another wicket, leaving them in trouble at 115 for 5.

Before scoring, Keogh shared a busy 44-run stand with McManus and was dropped at slip before moving on to a Coles pass. Shortly after, McManus was struck by Henry Crocombe with a high chip to midwicket. But that resulted in a memorable win and the union of Taylor and Broad.

Northamptonshire 243 for 7 (Taylor 42*) beat Sussex 240 for 7 (Pujara 106*, White 3-29) by three wickets (DLS method)