Durham 148 for 4 (Short 46) Northamptonshire 141 for 9 (Rossington 47, Potts 2-11) by seven runs
A fine all-round performance from D'Arcy Short on debut guided Durham to a narrow seven-run victory over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in their Vitality Blast opener at Emirates Riverside.
The Australia opener set the tone with an aggressive innings of 46 at the top of the order on a sluggish Chester-le-Street pitch. It allowed the hosts to set a challenging total of 149 for the Steelbacks to chase after losing the toss.
Durham were able to take the initiative with the ball, reducing the visitors to 23 for 3. Adam Rossington led a spirited counter to keep Northants in contention, although once he fell for 47 to Short it appeared to be in vain. Rob Keogh almost provided late drama, but Matty Potts held his nerve with the final over to clinch the win.
Openers Short and Scott Steel made a measured start to the Durham innings amid challenging overhead conditions. Short flashed his power with a couple of cuts to the fence. However, the pitch and the length of the boundaries at Emirates Riverside restricted the openers' ability to get on top of the Northants bowlers.
Short began to find his range and he pummeled Dwaine Pretorius back over his head for a boundary. The 28-year-old then survived a run out chance on 36 after Josh Cobb connected with a direct hit. Short's attempt to up the rate resulted in his dismissal when he sliced an attempted straight drive off Graeme White and was caught by Matt Coles for 46.
Steel and Graham Clark found their rhythm to guide their side over the 100-run mark. Steel was able to launch the first six of the match straight down the ground off the bowling of Cobb. The opener was beginning to free his shoulders before suffering the same fate as Short, allowing White to notch his second wicket.
With overs running out Ben Raine had to hit the ground running. He offered a brisk 13 from eight deliveries before he was bowled by Faheem Ashraf, while Clark was caught on the boundary for 17. Captain Stuart Poynter and Liam Trevaskis guided Durham to a competitive total of 148 from their 20 overs, leaving the visitors requiring almost 7.5 runs an over.
Northants' reply got off to a stuttering start, losing Charlie Thurston in the second over, cutting a Potts' ball straight to Short at point. Potts then removed the dangerous Cobb, clipping his pad then his leg stump to reduce the visitors to 18 for 2. Coles was elevated up the order, but fell attempting to pull Raine over the rope, only finding the hands of Jack Burnham.
Rossington led the Steelbacks' counterattack, blasting two huge sixes off the bowling of Raine to move them back in line with the required run rate. Rossington and Alex Wakely were building an important stand of 35, but Trevaskis broke the partnership by bowling the latter through the gate.
At the other end, Short handed Durham control of the contest when he removed Rossington, finding the edge with a delivery down the leg side. The home side turned the screw as Short notched his second wicket as Pretorius found Burnham in the deep.
Although the Steelbacks kept losing wickets, a lower-order stand between Keogh and White gave them hope. The two players took it to the last over, requiring 15 to snatch the win. Potts took on the responsibility and held his composure, guiding the hosts to the victory.