Ian Saxelby stars in rain-hit match as Gloucestershire Gladiators book last-eight place
IAN Saxelby took two wickets as Gloucestershire booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 with a rain-affected eight-wicket win over Northamptonshire.
In their first match since the departure of head coach David Capel, the Steelbacks were reduced to 31-4 before rain curtailed their innings, with pace bowler Saxelby having taken 2-6.
The Gladiators were given a revised target of 23 from five overs and, unsurprisingly, this did not prove difficult as they took just 14 balls to reach it and set up an away quarter-final with Sussex.
It allowed them to overtake Warwickshire in the group standings after their defeat to Glamorgan to qualify alongside Somerset and Worcestershire.
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The result also meant Northamptonshire finished bottom of the group with just a solitary win, and they have now gone two years without a home victory in the competition.
Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to field, and they claimed the wicket of Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely in the second over when New Zealander James Fuller took out his off stump.
David Willey followed by launching Saxelby to Gladiators captain Hamish Marshall at mid-on, before Cameron White edged the same bowler to wicketkeeper Jonathan Batty from the next ball.
The players were then taken off for rain at the end of the fifth over, with the Steelbacks struggling on 14-3 and their hopes of a first home t20 win since July 2010 fading.
Play resumed 45 minutes later with no overs lost, but Rob Newton soon departed for 12 when he was caught and bowled by Muttiah Muralitharan.
Rain again forced the players off, only this time it was more persistent and this meant the end of the hosts' foundering innings.
Chasing just 23 from the minimum five overs, Gloucestershire lost former New Zealand international Marshall from the first ball when he was lbw to Willey.
Willey then ran out Australia batsman Ed Cowan from point after an aborted single off David Burton in the second over. But the winning run came with the second ball of the third over, via a leg bye off the bowling of Lee Daggett.