Azharullah aims to help Steelbacks secure home quarter-final

Muhammad Azharullah has helped the Steelbacks to back-to-back wins since returning from injury (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Muhammad Azharullah has helped the Steelbacks to back-to-back wins since returning from injury (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Steelbacks star Muhammad Azharullah is setting his sights on a home quarter-final in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast.

Azharullah and Co have claimed back-to-back wins in the competition as they bid to defend the title they claimed at Edgbaston last year.

Lancashire Lightning were beaten by 11 runs at the County Ground last Thursday and the Steelbacks then went to Worcestershire Rapids and won by 24 runs two days later.

Second-placed Northants now host Leicestershire Foxes tonight looking to take another step towards the last eight.

And if they can win all three of their remaining North Group matches, David Ripley’s men will be guaranteed a home quarter-final in the week commencing August 21.

“It’s where we want to be,” said Azharullah.

“Hopefully we can win the next three games and get a home quarter-final - that’s the target.

“When you play at home you can control boundaries and the crowd is with you.

“It’s good for the club so we just want to get a home quarter-final and we’ll try our best to put all the efforts in and get that.”

Azharullah made a successful return from a shoulder injury in the win against Lancashire, claiming figures of one for 27 in his four overs.

He then took two for 36 to help his team secure a success at New Road last Saturday.

And the 33-year-old said: “It’s nice to be back.

“I missed a full month’s cricket, especially T20, so it was a little bit hard, but I’m glad to be back because they said I would be out for the season - six months or so.

“I went to the specialist and he said I’ve got too much movement in my shoulder so I didn’t need surgery.

“I just pushed myself with the physio team, who really helped me out, and I’m pleased to be back and contributing to the team cause.

“There are still six or seven teams with a chance of making the quarter-finals so I’m really pleased to put performances in and stay near the top of the table.”