Batsman Ben Duckett is confident Northants Steelbacks can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Royal London One Day Cup, despite Tuesday’s eight-wicket defeat at Birmingham Bears.
Duckett hit 46, Alex Wakely 70 and Josh Cobb 50 as Northants posted 254 for nine in their 50 overs, but that total proved to be well below par at Edgbaston as the Bears coasted to an eight wicket win with 12 balls to spare.
The loss means Northants have won just two of their six North Group games, but they are still just one place and one point off the top-four finish needed for qualification for the last eight.
Steelbacks are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to sixth-placed Worcestershire, and they then wrap up their group campaign with a home clash against fourth-placed Derbyshire on Sunday.
Two wins will give Northants nine points, and that could well be enough to secure progression, and that is what Duckett says the team is targeting.
“Now we have got some big games coming up and hopefully we can win them and still be in the mix,” said the left-hander, who returned to the County team after starring for England Lions in their one-day tri-nation series win over Sri Lanka A and Pakistan A.
“There were a lot of washouts early in the group with teams getting one point each, so after that it’s still all fairly tight.
“Worcestershire and Derbyshire are near the top of the table so if we can get a couple of wins in the next few days we will be right back up there.”
Northants were left to rue not getting enough runs in their innings against the Bears, and Duckett admits that one of he, Wakely and Cobb should have gone on to get three figures.
“We were definitely about 20 or 30 runs short,” said Duckett, who smashed 220 not out for the Lions against Sri Lanka on Monday.
“We kept losing wickets throughout and me, Cobby and Wakers all got ourselves in but didn’t go on.
“We needed somebody to get a 120-plus which is what you need to win a 50-over game.
“If we had got 270 or 280 we could have put them under a lot of pressure because the wickets was turning.
“Then we could have done with a couple of early wickets but their guys played really well up top.”