Northants 194 and 270 (Levi 115, Newton 53, Wood 4-31) beat Nottinghamshire 151 (Kleinveldt 9-65) and 189 (Kleinveldt 4-33) by 124 runs
Northamptonshire completed an impressive 124-run win over Nottinghamshire on the final morning at Wantage Road to take the race for promotion from Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship into the final week.
The final day was perfectly poised as Notts resumed on 107 for 3 chasing 314 for a victory that would confirm their promotion. However, they were blown away for just 189 before lunch.
It was Northants’ first victory over Notts in the County Championship since 2002 and moves them to within 13 points of Notts going into the final week of the season with Worcestershire six clear at the top of the table. Notts travel to Sussex while Northants visit Leicestershire next week, with Worcestershire at home to Durham.
That Northants have a chance of promotion is largely thanks to a virtuoso performance from Rory Kleinveldt in this match. He set Northants on their way on the final morning, removing both overnight batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Jake Libby, after half an hour’s play – Pujara caught at second slip by one that bounced a little and Libby caught at the wicket following an away-swinger. It took Kleinveldt’s match figures to 13 for 98, the best of his career.
But the South African was not alone in producing an impressive bowling display as the four-pronged Northants seam attack all contributed. Ben Sanderson, luckless on the third morning, finally took a wicket and the important scalp of Riki Wessels, lbw playing across the line for just 4.
Samit Patel was the other big danger but after a brief counter-attacking 25, he hooked Richard Gleeson to substitute Saif Zaib at deep-square leg.
After Patel’s departure, Chris Read was taken at second slip to give Nathan Buck a second wicket in the innings and Gleeson took out Brett Hutton’s off stump to end the contest.
“We’ve played really well over the four days and backing up performances from previous weeks too. If you beat Notts you’ve earned your victory and we were impressive over the four days,” David Ripley, Northants head coach, said.
“Our seam bowling was fantastic and I always knew they could keep us in the game and it was a really good team performance.
“Rory looked a little tired and jaded but he’s a massive competitor and you couldn’t get the ball out of his hands, he’s got a great heart for the competition and his runs were also very important.
“It’s nice to go to the final game of the season now with promotion still alive.”
Peter Moores, Notts head coach, added: “Their big players stood up and played well. We have no complaints, we were up for the game and knew what was on the game, so all credit to Northants because they played better than us over the four days.
“It’s always been on our radar that we have to get over the line, so it was never designed to be simple. We’ve played some really good cricket this season and we’ve come across two good sides.
“I’ve said all along – and said it at the AGM at the start of the season – that we can’t guarantee we will win anything. What we will guarantee is we will always put eleven blokes on the field who are up for a challenge. We’ll continue do that and hopefully it will be enough.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo