T20 Blast: Josh Cobb stars as Northants beat Durham to win T20 Blast
|Natwest T20 Blast final, Edgbaston|
|Durham 153-8 (20 overs): Jennings 88; Sanderson 3-31, Kleinveldt 2-40|
|Northamptonshire 155-6 (19.1 overs): Cobb 80, Wakely 43|
Northants won the T20 Blast for the second time as brilliant batting by Josh Cobb steered them to a four-wicket victory over Durham at Edgbaston.
After Ben Stokes went early for 18, Keaton Jennings hit 88 off 58 balls before Cobb pulled off a stunning catch to remove him as Durham made 153-8.
Northants were 9-3 in reply, but Cobb hit three sixes in a 26-ball fifty.
He put on 120 with Alex Wakely (43) and departed for 80 just before Northants reached 155-6 with five balls to spare.
It was an audacious exhibition by Cobb, who turned 26 three days ago, and had earlier taken a stunning one-handed catch at cover to dismiss Jennings, whose score was the highest in Finals Day history - and his first half-century in a T20 game.
A member of Leicestershire's winning team in 2011, Cobb top-edged Chris Rushworth to the keeper as he tried to win the match with a six.
Northants see off danger man Wood
Needing three off the final over, however, Northants needed only one delivery as Rob Keogh struck Usman Arshad to spark scenes of celebration as they repeated their 2013 Finals Day triumph.
It was a major disappointment for Durham, whose chief executive had to reassure the players that the club was not going bust earlier this month, after overcoming Yorkshire by seven runs earlier in the day.
Stokes and Mark Wood played the lead roles in that victory, but were unable to repeat it in the final, although two wickets went down in Wood's opening over, the second a superb run-out of Richard Levi by Scott Borthwick.
Ultimately Durham did not have enough runs to defend after Ben Sanderson took 3-31 for their opponents, including the vital wickets of Stokes and skipper Paul Collingwood.
And although Wood (1-25) looked the most threatening bowler on display during the day, Cobb and Wakely punished Durham's support bowlers in the partnership which all but decided the outcome and atoned for Northants' defeat by Lancashire in last year's final.
Mixed day for England stars
Despite the upcoming one-day series against Pakistan, England made players available for the climax of the domestic T20 competition.
Although Stokes hit 56 and Wood took 4-25 against Yorkshire, it was a largely disappointing day for the national team stars.
Stuart Broad failed to take a wicket in two overs for Notts in their semi-final against Northants and was caught behind for 11 as they came up just eight runs short.
But it was Yorkshire's England returnees who really failed to live up to their billing, with Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance contributing only 10 runs between them, and David Willey suffering a hand injury when the ball was hit hard back at him.
Root, in particular, looked shaken up by Wood's pace in the second semi-final and a reckless hook shot off Rushworth led to his downfall.
When it came to the final, Cobb outshone them all as Northants became only the third county to win the T20 trophy more than once following Leicestershire (three times) and Hampshire (twice).
Northants batsman Josh Cobb told BBC Test Match Special:
"It's an unbelievable feeling. We lost last year and people wanted to put it right. As long as the team won, that was the main thing.
"We like the underdog tag. We are a serious white-ball cricket side and even when we have a lot of injuries against us, someone puts their hand up.
"In a way, I was batting calm and I would have been a lot more nervous if I was in the stand."
Durham captain Paul Collingwood:
"It's disappointing to get all the way to the final and not be able to get over the line, but the energy that we put into the semi-final against Yorkshire, you cannot fault the lads.
"From the position that we were in in the league to get to the actual final, I take my hat off to the boys. It's been a great effort, but wasn't good enough in the end.
"Northants deserve the victory. We didn't have a huge score on the board. You need things to go your way but unfortunately today it didn't. "