Dominant Willey Blitz Propels Northamptonshire to Historic Victory in Vitality Blast 2024

David Willey, Northamptonshire’s skipper, orchestrated a spectacular eight-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Trent Bridge in the Vitality Blast, marking Northamptonshire’s historic first win at this venue.

Willey’s breathtaking knock of 79 runs off just 34 balls, adorned with seven sixes and seven fours, propelled his team to victory with a staggering 40 balls to spare.

Dominant Willey Blitz Propels Northamptonshire to Historic Victory in Vitality Blast 2024
David Willey led his team to a consecutive victory • Getty Images

Nottinghamshire 154 (Haynes 51, Zaib 3-12, Scrimshaw 3-16) lost to Northamptonshire 157 for 2 (Willey 79, Breetzke 51*) by eight wickets.

South African opener Matthew Breetzke hit the winning boundary in a 30-ball, undefeated 51 to help Steelbacks defeat the Outlaws by 154 runs with 40 balls remaining. In their seven prior visits to Trent Bridge in the shortest format, Northamptonshire had never emerged victorious.

After building on a 63-run powerplay to reach 104 for 1 after 10 overs, with new captain Joe Clarke and Outlaws debutant Jack Haynes sharing a 95-run partnership from 58 balls, the Outlaws seemed headed for a big score.

However, the home team lost their final nine wickets for 50 in 9.2 overs when Haynes went for 51 and Clarke for 48. Saif Zaib, a left-arm spinner who bowls infrequently in this format, bagged a T20 career-best 3 for 12 in three overs, while George Scrimshaw, a 6ft 7in fast bowler, claimed three for 16 off 14 deliveries.

Despite being asked to bat first, the Outlaws raced to 63 for 1 in the opening six overs, with Clarke slamming two sixes and Haynes another in a flurry of boundaries. However, they lost Alex Hales in the second over, caught behind after creating room to cut Raphy Weatherall.

By the conclusion of the tenth over, the second-wicket combination had amassed ninety-five runs when left-arm spinner Saif Zaib, David Willey’s seventh bowler, stopped them cold. Clarke was caught by off-side sweeper Ricardo Vasconcelos for forty-eight off thirty balls.

Willey’s outstanding mid-off fielding eventually removed Will Young, and after Tom Moores holed out to long-on for nine, the Outlaws had collapsed from 104 for 1 to 117 for 4 in three overs, with the slower bowlers also dragging down the scoring pace for good measure.

With two more wickets in his second over, Haynes was caught at long on and Matt Montgomery was bowled sweeping, continuing Northamptonshire’s comeback.

Also Read: Somerset Triumph in Vitality T20 Blast Rematch: Abell and Gregory Shine

Willey came back into the game to give Calvin Harrison an inside edge, but things didn’t stop there. George Scrimshaw scored two runs in a row to take out Lyndon James when he was caught steepling and Dillon Pennington leg out. The Outlaws failed to even bat out the entire 20 overs until Scrimshaw closed things up by catching Olly Stone behind the bat.

Home team morale was briefly raised by the early removal of Vasconcelos, who was caught at slip after a badly executed scoop, but by the end of the powerplay, they had collapsed. The Steelbacks were leading at 68 for 1, having seen Willey smash former Northamptonshire teammate Stone for 4-4-6-4-4-1 in the sixth over, before going 6-2-4 off legspinner Harrison’s opening three deliveries to finish at fifty on 21 balls.

With four more massive sixes off the first four deliveries of Harrison’s second over, Willey’s spectacular innings continued. The left-hander obviously intended to go for a complete set, but his luck ran out on the following ball, which he misplayed slightly, allowing James to catch it at long off.

However, the Steelbacks reached the midway point needing just 35 more to win as starter Breetzke, who faced just 20 balls in the first 10 overs, finally had a look in to clear the rope off Stone.

In the event, they needed just twenty more balls to finish the job; Breetzke and Ravi Bopara both scored two more maximums before the former hit the winning boundary and his first Outlaws half-century by lofting Montgomery’s offspin through long off.

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