David Ripley had to admit that his Northamptonshire side were well below their best as they were easily beaten by Nottinghamshire in the Yorkshire Bank 40 at Trent Bridge.
A six-wicket reverse with the best part of eight overs remaining tells you all you need to know about the balance of the contest and head coach Ripley wasn’t making any excuses.
He said: “We weren’t at our best when we played Notts earlier in the season and we know that we’ve got to step it up a bit from where we were today.
“We can definitely beat these kind of teams but we need to be at our best and we weren’t there today.
“We were light, a par score here is 240 and while it wasn’t an absolute belter, we needed about that and we just weren’t at our best.
“Our rate apart from at the beginning, we didn’t get where we would be threatening a 240 score and we needed something special at the end where a big five or six overs could have got us up there.”
In addition to the batting, the Steelbacks’ bowling wasn’t up to scratch, especially with the new ball where the hosts’ opening duo of Michael Lumb and Alex Hales got them off to a rapid start.
“We were hoping for quick wickets but it didn’t pan out that way and they’re a quality opening pair in one-day cricket,” Ripley added.
“We’re not the first bowling attack to be dented up front and we won’t be the last.”
The outcome of all of this is that the Steelbacks, with three games remaining in the group stage, can’t afford any more slip-ups if a semi-final spot is to become a reality.
Ripley said: “If we win all three games then we’ll have a chance of being one of the top three runners-up so that is where we’ll be focusing but if we lose on Tuesday then we’ll be struggling to qualify.”