Worcestershire Rapids suffered their first defeat in this summer's NatWest T20 Blast when they went down by seven wickets to Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road this evening.

The Rapids were restricted to 144-6 in their 20 overs after electing to bat with skipper Daryl Mitchell, who dropped down the order to number four, top-scoring with an unbeaten 44.

The home side reached their target with 21 balls to spare thanks chiefly to an unbeaten 56 from Josh Cobb and 44 from Richard Levi.

Last season's T20 Blast runners-up maintained their own unbeaten record in the competition in 2016 whilst ending a run of three wins for the Rapids over Durham, Birmingham and Yorkshire.

It also halted a run of seven successive away victories for the Rapids in the T20 Blast.

Sixty three runs came from the Steelbacks six over powerplay to break the back of the chase.

Measured batting from thereon saw Northants through to victory and just a third win over Worcestershire in the last 11 T20 meetings.

Cobb, from number three, struck three sixes in his 45 ball knock, pulling Matt Henry into the mobile bar behind the mid wicket fence and lifting Jack Shantry over long-on.

His third six, again over mid-wicket, won the match.

Opener Levi did most of his work in the powerplay, exploding the chase into life by taking 18 from the fifth over bowled by Joe Leach.

Three times in succession Levi lifted boundaries over wide mid-off before a full toss was whacked backward of square leg.

Levi went past 4,000 T20 runs in the process. He hoisted Brett D’Oliveria over long-on for the first six of the innings but offered up a return catch via a leading edge later in the over.

His 25 ball innings gave his side the perfect start and they went on to chase successfully for the third match in succession.

Mitchell had carefully worked the bowling around and ran well between the wickets. He struck just two fours in his 36 ball knock but it was a vital innings.

After poor starts with the ball in the opening two games, Northamptonshire enjoyed an excellent powerplay in which Worcestershire only made 37-3.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (2) fell to the fifth ball of the innings – skying a drive off Rory Kleinveldt to Cobb at mid-on.

Moeen Ali (9) was caught down the leg side trying to hook an Ollie Stone bouncer.

The wicket of Moeen was a huge moment for Northants and Stone celebrated with exuberance – a huge leap and punch of the air.

But on landing he fell in a heap and treatment followed. Stone attempted to finish his over but collapsed in his delivery stride and had to be carried from the ground.

Joe Clarke (14) edged Azharullah to wicketkeeper Adam Rossington trying to work a ball across the line.

Alexei Kervezee (14) was caught at long-on trying to up the scoring rate and from 65-4, careful batting was needed to steer Worcestershire through the innings.

They went a spell of eight overs without a boundary before Ross Whitely (23) eventually swung Graeme White over the mid wicket boundary for six. He fell two overs later, caught at deep-square leg.