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Warwickshire defeat the Steelbacks in Royal London Cup opener!

Sam Hain and William Porterfield steered Warwickshire to a perfect start in their defence of the Royal London Cup with a 10-wicket win over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Having bowled the home side out for 151 inside the revised allocation of 30 overs, Hain and Porterfield made light work of the Duckworth-Lewis target of 159, winning with four overs to spare.

The damage was done with 51 runs in the six-over Powerplay as Hain gave the chase a bright start. He cut and then punched Richard Gleeson off the back foot for his first two boundaries and drove Nathan Buck beautifully past mid-on.

A perfectly-timed flick through midwicket brought him a half-century in just 30 balls with 10 fours. 

His unbeaten 89 were welcome runs for Hain who lost his place in Warwickshire’s County Championship side and an excellent start in the competition in which he was the leading run scorer last season.

Porterfield merely had to stand and watch his partner in the early stages but also found his touch with an uppercut off Steven Crook and a reverse sweep against Graeme White. He brought up his own fifty in 63 balls and struck the winning boundary off Josh Cobb.

The pair, who shared 180 for the opening wicket to help their side beat Northants at Edgbaston last season, ground their opponents down again with the home side finding nothing in response to a poor effort with the bat.

Northants, having been sent in on a cold gloomy day, were certainly not helped by three delays due to varying amounts of drizzle, but failed to develop any significant partnerships

Ben Duckett fell for just 7 in a fine opening spell from Rikki Clarke, slapping straight to extra-cover. Alex Wakely then chipped a catch back to the bowler, smartly taken down low by Clarke, who took 2 for 18 in his seven overs, either side of rain delays.

Cobb settled well after driving Chris Wright down the ground for his opening boundary. He muscled debutant Grant Thornton over the midwicket fence but to the final ball of an Oliver Hannon-Dalby over in which he had already taken two boundaries, holed out to long-on for 33.

Thereafter, Rob Keogh played smartly in a 64-ball half-century but received no support. Adam Rossington mistimed a drive down the ground and was caught by Hain running round from long-on for just 13, Crook rocked back to cut Jeetan Patel, missed and lost his off bail for just 2, two excellent run-outs were effected by Porterfield from backward point before Hannon-Dalby cleaned up the tail with two caught and bowled dismissals.

Northamptonshire coach David Ripley admitted: "We just haven’t come out of the blocks at all. We had the sharp end of the conditions batting first, we had to stop-start and couldn’t get any partnerships together - but still our performance is way down from where we expect it to be and we’ve been very well beaten.

“I knew we were well under par but the ball went through a little and I expected our bowlers to be a handful and I was hopeful we could pull of something special.  But we never got started with the ball either so it’s a pretty grim effort all round really.”

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