The Steelbacks started their NatWest T20 Blast campaign as reigning champions, with a trip to Headingley to take on Yorkshire Vikings and their plethora of England stars.
Yorkshire fielded a very strong side which contained 7 England Internationals, plus their overseas player Kane Williamson and won the toss, electing to bat.
The Steelbacks got off to a good start, as new boy Ian Butler removed Yorkshire captain, Andrew Gale for 3, with just his second ball in a Steelbacks shirt. Kane Williamson and Joe Root looked dangerous for a couple of overs, before David Willey ran Williamson (17) out with an excellent direct hit from backward point. Root was then trapped lbw by Muhammad Azhar Ullah for 13, with the score on 37/3 after the powerplay.
Yorkshire then struggled to continue to put a lengthy partnership together, as Gary Balance (12), Jonny Bairstow (24) and Adil Rashid (12), were all dismissed by the time the score reached 87 in the 13th over. However Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett with a little bit of luck on one or two of their shots, got Yorkshire back into the game, putting on 64 runs before Plunkett was caught off Butler for 36.
Bresnan finished on 34 not out, as the Yorkshire innings ended on 162/7. Ian Butler was the star of the Northants bowlers, as the debutant recorded figures off 4 for 25, whilst Muahmmad Azhar Ullah and Graeme White took one wicket each.
Head Coach David Ripley put his two big hitters, Richard Levi and David Willey out to open the batting, and they started the Steelbacks innings off quickly, putting on 45 in the first 5 overs, before Levi was caught off Plunkett for 19. Skipper Kyle Coetzer was gone the very next ball, as he was run out with a direct hit by former Steelback Jack Brooks, without having faced a delivery.
David Willey looked impressive and dangerous throughout his innings, as he smashed 43 off 28 balls, which included 3 sixes, before being caught going for another six off Pyrah. When Rob Newton was bowled by Liam Punkett four balls later, things didn’t look great for the Steelbacks, with the score on 82/4 in the 11th over.
Steven Crook and Ben Duckett then staged a Steelbacks fightback, putting on 41 before Crook was trapped lbw by Pyrah after scoring 29 off 18, as the Steelbacks innings began to get bogged down, with Butler falling for just 1.
The Steelbacks entered the last over needing 13 to win, with the experienced Ryan Sidebottom bowling. After hitting a four off the first ball, Matthew Spriegel was run out by Sidebottom for 9, as he went for a quick single off the second ball of the over. Duckett then broke Yorkshire hearts, as he hit a brilliant six over long-off, leaving the Steelbacks with just 3 to win off 3 balls.
After Duckett made a single, Graeme White faced the penultimate ball of the match, which he proceeded to hit for four, as the Steelbacks won by 3 wickets with 1 ball remaining!
Next up for the Steelbacks will be an East Midlands derby against Leicestershire Foxes, who also won their opening game last night. The derby will take place on Friday 23rd May, with the game starting at 6.30pm, click here to purchase tickets.