T20: Northants 162 beat Gloucestershire 152-7 by 10 runs
Gloucestershire again went down in the second-innings of a Twenty20 match, as their chances of progression were left hanging by a thread, as a seemingly impossible-to-lose chase turned to defeat to leave the Shire on the verge of elimination.
Chasing 163 to win at Bristol seemed a cakewalk after Hamish Marshall blitzed through the powerplay at above 10-an-over to leave what was sure to be a comfortable stroll to the winning margin, but his quite unnecessary dismissal in the final over of powerplay turned the match.
He had played some quite delightful strokes making 42 from 22 balls and the required rate had tumbled to a very modest Twenty20 level. However, Glos' achilles heel again intervened and six middle order wickets went down for just 40 runs, and the 33 from 18 balls proved too much for the tail.
There was a collective sigh of disappointment as the game slipped away from the home side, as most people expected to be driving home as Gemaal Hussain swung and missed at the penultimate ball, needed two sixes for victory. What a disappointment it was. Marshall played wonderfully to set the position up, but the experience of neither Spearman or Taylor could steer the Shire home when required.
It required someone to assert themselves and play properly in knocking off what was close to a run-a-ball after Marshall's innings, but no-one stood up and, as has been experienced, required rates can escalate rapidly in the short form of the game. Batsman were blocking three balls before even looking where they could perhaps score - a repeat of Monday's game when the target was also in sight, but slipped away.
It had been a decent performance in the field, with two possible hat-tricks dampening the Northants innings well, but the performance with the bat has effectively made tomorrow's match at Edgbaston a do-or-die scenario - and we've not even reached the second phase of the group stages.