'Scruffy' Steelbacks have no margin for error after loss at Yorkshire
Northants Steelbacks boss David Ripley says his side must now win every match if they are to make the knockout stages of the Vitality T20 Blast.
The Steelbacks suffered a heavy defeat at Yorkshire Vikings on Saturday night, losing by 82 runs in the North Group encounter.
The Vikings won the toss and cruised to 224 for three from their 20 overs, with Jordan Thompson top scoring with 74 from 35 balls.
The Steelbacks had a far tougher time with the bat and were bowled out for just 142, with Rob Keogh's 36 the best they could muster.
Northants remain bottom of the North Group but they are still just four points adrift of fourth.
And Ripley said: “I don’t think we were at our best.
"We couldn’t get a grip in the powerplay and when they came hard at us it was very difficult for us to stop them.
"There were 12 sixes and that’s a lot in a T20 innings. But we kept our energy and our ground fielding was very good.
"However, our skills weren’t quite up to Yorkshire’s tonight. We were just a bit scruffy.
“Ben Sanderson’s been very good when bowling at the death in other games but you get punished if you’re just a fraction out.
"We’ve lost heavily but when you have to score that many runs games like this do happen.
“I still believe five wins on the bounce would get us somewhere near qualifying but we haven’t got any wriggle room now.
"We can’t afford a mistake, we have to win every game.”
Yorkshire batsman Mark Stoneman, who made 50 from 31 balls after joining on loan from Surrey, said: “To be entirely honest, I never thought we’d be breaking 200 after the powerplay.
"It felt like 175 to 180 would be about the mark. There were fractional differences in pace in the pitch.
“But the way we held partnerships through the innings was fantastic. With the ball, guys just stuck to plans.
"We took our catches, a couple of run outs. It was a very good performance.
“I really enjoyed it.
"It all came around pretty quickly from getting a phone call at 1pm yesterday on the way to training with Surrey.
"I’m really grateful for the opportunity, and it was nice to get a score on the board and a couple of decent partnerships with the lads. I’ve been welcomed with open arms.
"It’s a great opportunity for me, and the club saw the chance to bring me in and use my experience and skillset. It’s the perfect balance really.”