Gloucestershire romped to their first T20 Finals Day since 2007 with a seven-wicket Vitality Blast quarter-final annihilation of Northamptonshire Steelbacks at the Bristol County Ground.
The visitors could post only 113 all out after winning the toss, Tom Taylor top-scoring with 27. Benny Howell claimed 3-16 and Ryan Higgins 3-24.
In reply, Gloucestershire breezed to 114 for 3 with more than eight overs to spare, Chris Dent leading the way with 40 and Ian Cockbain contributing an unbeaten 30.
It is hard to imagine a more emphatic victory and the west country side, who have now won eight of their last nine Blast games, need fear no one in Saturday’s Finals at Edgbaston.
There were two wickets each for David Payne and Graeme van Buuren as Gloucestershire produced a T20 masterclass in supporting skilful bowling with immaculate fielding on a sunny, but crisp October afternoon.
They were all over the Northants batsmen from the opening over of the game, which saw Paul Stirling caught at mid-wicket off Payne’s fifth delivery without scoring.
Only two boundaries were scored in the first six-over power-play, which also saw Richard Levi depart for 14, bowled by left-arm spinner van Buuren, and ended with Northants 29 for two.
Tom Smith and Howell then applied the mid-innings squeeze on the batsmen, which has become Gloucestershire’s trademark. Josh Cobb was bowled aiming a big hit off Howell, who also sent back Adam Rossington, caught off a skier at mid-wicket.
At the midway point for their innings, Northants were becalmed on 53 for four. Smith finished his four overs, having conceded just 24 runs.
Rob Keogh became Howell’s third victim and van Buuren clean bowled Saif Zaib. When Luke Procter, on 18, drove a catch to cover off Higgins it was 80 for 7.
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