CALUM MacLeod’s 32-ball 60 helped Durham Jets get their Natwest T20 Blast campaign off to a winning start as they beat Northants Steelbacks by 41 runs in a rain-affected game.
Despite scoring just 28 runs and losing five wickets in the final five overs at the Emirates ICG, Durham posted 174, thanks to fifties from MacLeod and Phil Mustard.
I tried to take the attack to them and put the pressure on themCALUM MacLEOD
In reply, no-one apart from Richard Levi got to double digits for the visitors who were struggling at 47-5 off eight overs when the rain arrived.
With the floodlights still a few weeks away, constant rain meant that the hosts were declared victors almost an hour after the players went off.
MacLeod admitted that the hosts “did have the better of the conditions” but also added that the weather wasn’t something he had in his thoughts while batting.
The Scot said: “It felt like a good wicket.
“With their spin during the middle and the bigger boundaries I thought that might have been a bit trickier.
“After assessing it, I tried to take the attack to them and put the pressure on them.”
Skipper Alex Wakely’s decision to field seemed like the right one after Rory Kleinveldt’s first over went for just one run and included the wicket of Durham captain Mark Stoneman.
MacLeod, Durham’s leading run scorer in the Blast last season, smashed three consecutive fours off David Willey’s first over and took a special liking to Olly Stone, who went for seven boundaries in his two overs.
The 26-year-old got to his fifty with his 11th boundary, off just 23 balls and catapulted Durham’s score from 1-1 after the first over to 62-1 after the power play.
It took a stunning catch from Kleinveldt at short fine leg to dismiss MacLeod, but the damage had already been done as the hosts were 85-2 off just 8.4 overs.
Mustard notched his fifty with a boundary off Graeme White in the 14th over but perished the next ball he faced, with the score at 138-3 after 14.2 overs.
Paul Collingwood, who came in at number four, was dropped on 17 and 21 before he was finally dismissed for 27 off the bowling of Willey.
Northants got back into the game after that thanks to some brilliant at-the-death bowling by Willey, whose combination of slower balls, bouncers and yorkers bamboozled the batsmen.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Willey couldn’t repeat his heroics with the bat as he was out for a golden duck in the first over.
What was a tall order at the outset become an impossible target as the wickets kept on falling. Chris Rushworth and Usman Arshad picked up two wickets each for the hosts, who were on top before the rain arrived.
Durham’s attention now turns to four-day cricket as they take on Warwickshire in Birmingham tomorrow.