Northamptonshire Steelbacks’ defence of their Natwest t20 Blast title ended in sorry fashion in Chester-le-Street as they lost to Durham Jets by five wickets.
It looked like a resounding success was there for the taking at one point with the home side 69-4 after 10 overs and needing a further 127 to overhaul the Steelbacks’ 195-3.
But Calum MacLeod and John Hastings has other ideas as they combined in a sixth-wicket partnership of 134 that, astonishingly, lasted just 50 balls.
The latter did the majority of the damage with an unbeaten 80 from 26 deliveries which included eight sixes and he was provided with excellent support by the Scotsman who ended with, by comparison, a turgid 64 from 42 balls faced.
Batting first having won the toss, the Steelbacks made the kind of start that has been lacking as Richard Levi and David Willey took 57 from the powerplay overs.
The pair extended their opening stand to 83 before Willey became the first to go, to Scott Borthwick’s leg-spin, for a 29-ball 43.
Levi, who been relatively sedate by his normal standards, was the next to go for 41 but this brought in Adam Rossington who again emphasised what a good loan acquisition he has been.
The Middlesex man thrashed 52, reaching his half century from the final ball of the innings with a six off Hastings, as he shared an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 69 with Steven Crook in a fraction more than five overs.
That left Durham with a stiff ask and they got off to a dismal start as both Phil Mustard, to Olly Stone, and Borthwick, to Willey, were out in the first three overs.
Things improved slightly but at the halfway stage the score read 69-4 which left the hosts needing a further 127.
There was a resurgence as MacLeod and Hastings got to work and by the time the three-quarter stage had arrived, the ask had been reduced to 70 still needed.
MacLeod reached his 50 from 34 balls in the next over and his partner wasn’t far behind as his milestone came up off a meagre 19 deliveries with five of those hit over the ropes.
But that was just the starter as in seven more balls, the Australian added 30 more as the target was reached with five balls still to be used up.