Cricket: Capel the destroyer

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 253-9 Northamptonshire 254-3 Northants win by 7 wickets

David Capel, who made 97 in a losing cause when these sides met in the Benson and Hedges final 10 years ago, exacted revenge here yesterday with a superb demonstration of his enduring versatility as Northamptonshire claimed a place in the semi-finals.

The veteran former England all-rounder took a career-best 5 for 51 as Yorkshire were restricted to 253 for 9 and then launched his side's winning reply with a splendidly bold 67 off just 59 balls, comprehensively upstaging Darren Gough and Chris Silverwood, the two current England bowlers on whom the home side's hopes were pinned.

Rob Bailey, another experienced hand, put together an unhurried, unbeaten 70 to guide his side home with four overs to spare but there was only one candidate for the Gold Award.

Capel took four of his wickets in nine balls as the middle fell out of Yorkshire's innings. Then, pausing only for a bite of lunch, he returned to crack two sixes and nine fours as he and Richard Montgomerie, very much the junior partner, put on 90 in just 16 overs. Capel gave just one chance, when Richard Stemp spilled a catch that had seemed to be safely in his grasp at third man. The error cost 14 runs.

Having been asked to bat on a grey morning, Yorkshire were indebted to Michael Vaughan (85) for salvaging a respectable total. He and Darren Lehmann put on 69 for the second wicket after the early failure of David Byas, and a face-saving sixth-wicket partnership of 115 with Bradley Parker (58).

Prior to Parker's arrival, Yorkshire's progress had been brought to a shuddering halt by Capel, his first three wickets coming in four deliveries. He struck first to dismiss Lehmann, who chased a wide ball outside off stump. Anthony McGrath went lbw to the next delivery and Craig White, having survived the hat-trick ball, drove the next straight into the hands of cover.

More drama followed in Capel's next over, in which Vaughan, then on 36, required treatment for a blow on a finger, which must still have been throbbing when Richard Blakey was caught at second slip as Yorkshire collapsed from 81 for 1 to 89 for 5. Capel claimed his first five-wicket haul in the competition when Peter Hartley mis-hooked and David Ripley held a steepling catch.

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