Ripley hails ‘phenomenal’ duo after Steelbacks slay Rapids

David Ripley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
David Ripley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Northants Steelbacks head coach David Ripley says Steven Crook and Rory Kleinveldt’s 15-ball blast against Worcestershire Rapids was ‘phenomenal’.

The pair came together with the Steelbacks on 131 for seven and they salvaged the innings with some simply sensational hitting, smashing 60 runs from the final 15 deliveries.

Kleinveldt made 42 from 12 balls, including six sixes in the space of seven deliveries, while Crook finished unbeaten on 55 from 35 balls.

It meant Northants just had enough as they restricted the Rapids to 191 for six to earn a two-run victory in the NatWest T20 Blast North Group.

And Ripley said: “You don’t see that kind of hitting every day of the week - it was phenomenal.

“Steve’s effort was outstanding but Rory just overshadowed that a little bit with how many he put away there.

“It’s death bowling and you’ve got a talented, young bowler (Ed Barnard) who didn’t quite get it right and he got pumped.

“Our bowlers at the end with their yorkers did get it right.”

Muhammad Azharullah bowled a nervy final over, ensuring the Rapids couldn’t get the 14 runs they needed from it to win.

And Kleinveldt was also impressive with the ball, taking two for 25, including the very early wicket of England star Moeen Ali, who faced just one delivery.

“It was tight,” said Ripley. “At one stage they were ahead and we drew it back well at the end.

“Our seamers went to their death bowling really well, but we were certainly indebted to Rory Kleinveldt a great deal with his belligerent end to our innings.

“It was brilliant striking and he fronted up with the ball as well, bowling two overs at the start and two at the end and only going for 20 odd.

“He’s had a great night.

“Steve Crook played beautifully and other guys chipped in and made contributions, which is what you want in T20 cricket.

“You want a couple of match-winning efforts and other guys chipping in.

“We’re pleased to get over the line in a tight game because it makes a lot of difference.

“If you’ve almost won and get no points, it tends to add up.”