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KEOGH THE KEY MAN IN CRUSHING RLC VICTORY


Rob Keogh’s maiden List A century led Northamptonshire to a thumping Royal London Cup victory over Durham by 170 runs at Wantage Road. Keogh’s 134 helped the home side post 355 for 6 before five-wickets for Azharullah bowled Durham out for just 185.

Keogh’s career-best helped Northants to their third-highest List A total. A score they defended with ease after Richard Gleeson’s early two wickets and Azharullah’s three that took out the middle order. None of the Durham batsman were able to get the visitors into the chase and they were bowled out in 35.3 overs - taking a significant blow to their net run-rate.

Victory for Northants revives their campaign after only one win from three completed matches so far. Keogh was the star. His 134 was the joint-seventh highest one-day score for the county. He rebuilt the innings in a stand of 149 with Rob Newton for the fourth wicket and went to his second fifty of the competition in 57 balls with six fours.

But the acceleration towards a century was most impressive - it took only 31 balls with six further fours and a six - lifted over midwicket during an over from Scott Borthwick that was taken for 18. A long-hop was also pulled to the midwicket fence before a full toss was planted over mid-on. Another four came via a drive wide of the same fielder.

A square-driven boundary backward of point brough a maiden List A century and an enthusiastic ovation. Keogh found the fence three more times before being caught at deep midwicket. It was a special innings. 

He shared a record fourth wicket stand for Northants against Durham with Newton, whose 65 in 46 balls was his third List A fifty and best effort of the competition this year. He skipped down the pitch to gracefully strike Ryan Pringle into the sightscreen for six, one of four maximums that also included a hook over deep-square. 

Newton’s was the third half-century of the inning after Josh Cobb’s 56 gave Northants’ a heathy start. He turned the second ball of the innings for four, added consecutive boundaries off Chris Rushworth’s and lifted Jame Harrison for a handsome six over deep square. His second fifty in this year’s competition was raised in 53 balls with five fours and a second six - flicked over long leg. But, trying to force Borthwick down the ground, presented a return catch to the bowler.

Cobb’s wicket saw the innings stagnate as 19 runs came from the next six overs and captain Alex Wakely chipped Ryan Pringle tamely to midwicket for 11. It left Northants 133 for 3 after 27 overs before Keogh and Newton began a fine recovery. Rory Kleinveldt finished the innings off perfectly with 32 in 13 balls, including six fours.

Early wickets would always kill Durham’s chase and Gleeson found two - Mark Stoneman hurried trying to pull, caught at mid-on and Borthwick caught-behind trying to leave. Phil Mustard also chipped a catch to mid-on for 20 and at 44 for 3, Durham were struggling. Azharullah’s 5 for 43 wickets ripped out the middle order and then the tail as Durham were rolled over.

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