Bears out for revenge as Steelbacks wrap up T20 Blast summer at Edgbaston
Northants Steelbacks wrap up their 2021 Vitality T20 Blast campaign on Sunday afternoon with a trip to Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Bears (start 2.30pm).
The Steelbacks' remote chances of qualifying for the last eight were ended with the cancellation of last Friday's Wantage Road date with Derbyshire Falcons.
That meant the North Group would be decided on average points earned from completed matches, and ensured David Ripley's side were definitely out of the running.
Following their hammering at Lancashire the previous Friday, the team's hopes were hanging by the slenderest of threads anyway, but the cancellation of the Falcons match ensured that was snapped.
So the Steelbacks travel to Birmingham with nothing but pride to play for, although they will be keen to avoid finishing bottom of the table, having won just four of their 12 matches.
For the home side there is much more on the game as they can still reach the quarter-finals.
The Bears beat Worcestershire Rapids on Friday night, and need to beat the Steelbacks to stand a chance of going through, although they will be reliant on the Rapids losing their final match against Leicestershire Foxes this evening.
Skipper Will Rhodes believes his team can see off the Steelbacks, and is keen to exact a little revenge for the final game of the group stage last year, when Northants produced an incredible fightback to win at Edgbaston and qualify for the last eight - knocking Bears out in the process.
“Now we have got to win our last game and win it well – that’s all we can do. There is no reason why we can’t, having just put in a really strong performance against the Rapids," said Rhodes.
“We know how Northants play and we have already beaten them in the tournament this year so hopefully we can do the same again.
"We all remember what happened in the corresponding game last year so that is another good motivation for us.
“A few pieces have got to fall into places for us to qualify but we will just think about what we have to do and give absolutely everything we’ve got for the Bears.”
Sunday's game will be the final one in Steelbacks colours for Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, but there is no place in the squad for his fellow overseas signing Wayne Parnell.
The South African, who scored a century in Friday night's Steelbacks Showcase exhibition match at the County Ground, won't travel to Edgbaston.
Josh Cobb captains the team before he leaves the Northants set-up for the next month to play for Welsh Fire in The Hundred.
Also playing his last game before going of to play for the Oval Invincibles is fast bowler Brandon Glover.
Bears will be without England all-rounder Chris Woakes, who is injured.
Steelbacks squad: Cobb, Curran, Gay, Glover, Heldreich, Keogh, Nabi, Taylor, Thurston, Vasconcelos, G White, J White, Zaib.
Bears squad: Rhodes, Brathwaite, Briggs, Burgess, Hain, Hose, Lamb, Lintott, Mayers, Miles, Pollock, Sidebottom, Yates