Steven Crook starred with the bat as Northants got their trip to the Caribbean off to a winning start with a 56-run win over Barbados in a Twenty20 clash at the Kensington Oval on Saturday.
The all-rounder smashed an unbeaten 84 in the Barbados T20 Cup as the Steelbacks posted 184 for four in their innings, before the hosts were then restricted to 128 for four in reply, with Mohammed Azharullah claiming three wickets.
Crook walked to the crease in the sixth over with Northants sitting precariously on 36 for three after the early dismissals of Josh Cobb (6), Ben Duckett (0) and skipper Alex Wakeley (5), but in tandem with Adam Rossington, who hit 46, and David Murphy (30no) he lifted Northants to a very useful total.
In all, Crook hit five fours and four sixes in his 56-ball innings, while Murphy’s 30 came from 27 balls and Rossington’s 46 from just 27 balls, the opener crashing two fours and three sixes in his stay.
For Barbados, Keon Harding did most of the damage before taking some late punishment, claiming three for 39 from his four overs.
In reply, Barbados were never in the hunt as two early wickets from Azharullah saw them reduced to 14 for two in the fourth over, and they just batted out their overs to 128 for four as the Steelbacks bowlers kept things nice and tight.
Azharullah was the pick of the bunch, claiming three for 25 from his four overs, while the other wicket taker was Cobb, who bowled excellently for his one for 14 from four.
The Steelbacks will now play either Nottinghamshire or Hampshire in the final on Sunday evening, with those two set to meet in their semi-final on Sunday morning.