Crook burst floors Sussex Sharks


Steven Crook took three wickets in 11 balls as Northamptonshire Steelbacks improved their chances of progressing in the Yorkshire Bank 40 with a 63-run win over Sussex Sharks in Group A at Arundel.

After the Steelbacks made 191 for six from 39 overs, Crook laid waste to Sussex's top order by removing Chris Nash for one and Luke Wells and Ed Joyce for ducks.

David Willey also picked up the scalp of Luke Wright as the Sharks were reduced to seven for four in the sixth over.

Michael Yardy and Ben Brown, with 52 and 40 respectively, gave Sussex hope but they were eventually bowled out for 128 in the 35th over, their third defeat leaving them struggling to make the semi-finals.

Crook triggered the Sussex collapse with his fifth ball when Nash played on and, in the next over, Wright was startled by a ball from Willey that rose alarmingly and looped into the covers.

Wells had no answer to a perfect off-cutter from Crook before Joyce played all around a slower ball. The seamer returned later in the innings to have Will Beer caught off a top-edge and finish with 4-26.

When Rory Hamilton-Brown picked out mid-off in the 12th over Sussex were 32 for five, but Yardy and Brown gave them respectability in a stand of 73 in 14 overs. It was never easy to score on a slower pitch but the former struck five boundaries in a 66-ball 50.

Northants had to bring back Willey to end the partnership when Yardy was bowled making room to hit through the leg side.

Brown, who spoiled Crook's figures by mowing him over midwicket for the only six, was bowled by Azhar Ullah - who finished with 3-20 as Sussex's last four wickets fell for 11 runs.

Earlier, Alex Wakely made 69 and 18-year-old Ben Duckett an unbeaten 47 in Northants' 191 after rain delayed the start by 15 minutes.

They added 73 in 14 overs for the fifth wicket, with Sussex's tweakers having inflicted early damage. Off-spinner Nash took two wickets in his first eight balls, bowling Willey and trapping Kyle Coetzer leg before.

Leg-spinner Beer also picked up two during an impressive spell but Wakely made the most of a reprieve - he was dropped on 28 by Chris Liddle at mid-on - to make 69 off 87 balls before he was caught in the deep in the penultimate over.

Duckett, in only his third List A appearance, hit five boundaries in a run-a-ball 47 as Northants plundered 26 off the last two overs to set up a fourth win that lifts them to second in the table.

Crook burst floors Sussex Sharks