Steelbacks ready for huge Blast clash with top-four rivals Yorkshire

Northants Steelbacks will have one foot in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals if they can beat top four rivals Yorkshire Vikings at the County Ground on Friday night (start 6.30pm).

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 24th June 2022, 9:41 am
Updated Friday, 24th June 2022, 9:43 am

John Sadler's team received a boost without even playing on Thursday night, as they moved back up to third in the North Group table thanks to Derbyshire Falcons suffering a hammering at Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

The home side piled up a mammoth 247 for six to see off Derbyshire by 94 runs, and with the Falcons' net run-rate taking a huge hit off the back of it, they dropped down to fourth.

Yorkshire were comfortable winners in their match at Worcestershire Rapids, meaning they moved up to fifth and to within a point of the Steelbacks, and they also have a game in hand.

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Northants Steelbacks know a win over Yorkshire will take them to the brink of qualification for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals

But the Steelbacks know a win over the Vikings will put them on 16 points - three clear of Vikings, who will have two games remaining - and in a very strong position with just one game to play, particularly as all the teams around them also have to play each other.

Leaders Lancashire Lightning, whose Thursday night clash with Durham was rained off, travel to Derbyshire tonight (Friday) and then take on second-placed Birmingham Bears next Sunday, while Yorkshire also still have to play the Bears.

The Vikings' final game a week on Sunday is against sixth-placed Leicestershire Foxes.

The Steelbacks had been on a five-match unbeaten run to briefly go top of the table, but they have stuttered this week.

They suffered successive defeats, at Derbyshire on Tuesday and at home to the Bears on Wednesday, but head coach Sadler is confident his team will still get the job done.

"One win might do it, to get us through to qualification, and two will do it," he said.

"We said ahead of these last four games that we had to win two out of the four, we just hoped it wouldn't be the last two.

"On Wednesday (against the Bears) we were outplayed by a very good side.

"So we dust ourselves down, reflect on it, and come back and start again at nought for nought on Friday."

Last Friday's clash with Lancashire Lightning was a sell-out at Wantage Road, and the club are expecting demand for tickets to be very high once more.

Some are still available though, and can be pre-booked here https://www.northantscrickettickets.com/select_seats.aspx?perfid=365