Bailey ensures perfect record

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Nottinghamshire 232-9 Northamptonshire 236-4 Northants win by six wickets

An outstanding innings of 115 not out by Rob Bailey, their new captain, which contained many exciting strokes, made sure that Northamptonshire maintained their unblemished record in this year's Benson and Hedges Cup. They have now won all three of their qualifying matches.

Bailey put Nottinghamshire in to bat and, on a pitch which had lively bounce, Paul Taylor, whose 5 for 45 were his best figures in the competition, and Tony Penberthy, with 3 for 38, which were also his best, kept them to a more than manageable total.

Even so, Northamptonshire lost two early wickets when Alan Fordham was yorked by Andy Pick who then had David Capel caught behind pushing forward to one which left him a fraction. Bailey had already announced himself with a drive through extra cover off Pick and a lovely force off the back foot which went a little squarer to the boundary.

He and Mal Loye put on 59 in 16 overs for the third wicket before Loye was lbw sweeping at the off spinner Richard Bates. Kevin Curran came in and began by off-driving Bates for six. When Curran was 15, Bates failed to hold on to a fierce return catch off a powerful drive and, at 40, he should have been caught at deep mid-wicket, also off Bates, but by then it was too late to make any difference. Bailey faced 43 balls and hit two sixes and 11 fours.

Nottinghamshire had earlier made a bad start, losing both openers to Paul Taylor for only 13. Paul Johnson was third out at 46 when he tried to pull Curtly Ambrose and skied the ball to mid-wicket.

Paul Pollard had already played some fine strokes and a square cut, a pick up and a cover drive had brought him three successive fours off Taylor. He and Ashley Metcalfe added 92 in 22 overs before Penberthy, who bowled well in the middle of the innings, had Pollard caught off a square cut at backward point. After that, the innings never regained the same momentum.