sport

Outlaws into last eight

Nottinghamshire booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Natwest t20 Blast thanks to a 22-run victory at Northamptonshire.

After winning the toss and batting first, the Outlaws mustered a decent 174-6, a target that proved too much for the hosts as the Steelbacks could only reach 152-7 as their slim chances of making the last eight vanished.

The win puts Notts into the last eight of the competition, and that quarter-final tie will at Trent Bridge if they can beat Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley on Friday.

The Outlaws made an expansive as Steven Mullaney and Alex Hales quickly made 50, but after they both went a period of consolidation followed through Riki Wessels and Samit Patel.

After the 100 came up in the 13th over Wessels kicked on, as his 50 came off 30 balls, and the pair's century partnership, which took up 11 overs, came just before Patel lofted Crook to long-on.

At this stage, a total nearing 200 appeared on the cards but the loss of four wickets in the final three overs, Wessels among them for 64 and Crook finishing with the excellent figures of 3-19, meant the score posted was a gettable 174-6.

Not that it would have looked that way three overs into the response as both Willey and Richard Levi fell to successive Ajmal Shahzad deliveries.

Adam Rossington did not do too much as he hit James Franklin over the mid-wicket rope before chipping tamely to long off but Kyle Coetzer and Crook took the score to 64-3 midway through their innings.

That left 111 needed from 60 balls, not particularly easy but definitely possible and this had been reduced further before Crook dragged Patel to long on.

Coetzer passed 50 for the first time this year and while he was at the crease there was a chance but when he fell for 67 at the end of an outstanding Harry Gurney over, the 18th, the contest was finished.

Speaking afterwards, Wessels said: "We were disappointed coming in having been 160 for two but it was a conscious effort to go hard with eight wickets in the bank.

"Our bowling has been our strength in the past few games and we haven't put as many runs on the board as we would've liked. But Fletch (Luke Fletcher), Harry (Gurney) and Aj (Shahzad) have really pulled it back for us."

In the home side's camp, captain Coetzer said: "We needed to get off to a good start and I thought they bowled really well.

"They picked up a couple of early wickets and that put us on the back foot right from the start. They took us on early and maybe we didn't hit the length we wanted to hard enough but we pulled it back really well."