Parnell praise for team-mates as Steelbacks make it two wins out of two

Wayne Parnell claimed two wickets and scored a crucial 25 as the Steelbacks beat Lancashire LightningWayne Parnell claimed two wickets and scored a crucial 25 as the Steelbacks beat Lancashire Lightning
Wayne Parnell claimed two wickets and scored a crucial 25 as the Steelbacks beat Lancashire Lightning
All-rounder Wayne Parnell says he always believed the Steelbacks would find their form in this season's Vitality T20 Blast.

After claiming just a single point from their opening six fixtures, Northants have won twice in the space of three days, and on Friday night they secured their first home win of the campaign as they saw off Lancashire Lightning by seven wickets.

That came hot on the heels of Wednesday night's nine-wicket thrashing of Durham in the north east. and those wins mean that the Steelbacks are now in the hunt for a top four finish in the North Group and qualification for the quarter-finals.

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Despite the two victories, David Ripley's men do remain bottom of the table, but things have really closed up an they are now only five points adrift of fourth-placed Durham and third-placed Birmingham Bears with six matches to play.

It has been a very welcome change in fortunes for the Steelbacks, and one that Parnell, who claimed two wickets and also hit 25 from 24 balls against Lightning, always felt would come.

"We are a really, really good side, I honestly believe that, and it was just about trying to get a little bit of momentum," said the South African.

"I feel that in the first few games there were 50-50 moments that all went against us, where the opposition would hit one and it would just go over the fielder, then our guys would hit one and it would go to hand.

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"Up at Durham was a really clinical performance, and then to back it up here at home is really pleasing, to win for the home fans.

"The first few games we were pretty much out of them at halfway.

"That meant somebody had to come out and really get us off to a flyer and gets us back into the game, but even then chasing 10 an over from the first over is really difficult.

"It was about trying to stay positive, to keep doing the good things, and I kept saying to the guys that this is a really good squad and it was about playing to our potential.

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"We had been below par for various reasons, but we got kick-started at Durham and carried on here."

Friday's match was effectively won by a superb all-round bowling performance as Lightning were restricted to 130 for seven, before Ricardo Vasconcelos (41), Mohammad Nabi (27no) and Rob Keogh (25no) got the job done with the bat.

The experienced overseas pair of Parnell and Nabi played a crucial role in that, with the former taking two for 28 in his four overs, and the latter conceding a miserly 18 from his.

But everybody else also played their part, and Parnell said: "We have a lot of variation.

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"We have a left-arm seamer, we have couple of right armers, we have a left-arm spinner and a right-arm spinner, and there are even guys who are better than part-time bowlers who haven't bowled yet.

"That unit is really strong and I think that is one thing we have stressed, to try to be clear in what we are doing and in the past couple of games we have been a lot better with that."

The Steelbacks are quickly back into action on Saturday evening when they travel to Headingley to take on league leaders Yorkshire Vikings (start 6.30pm).

The Vikings were also in action on Friday, and suffered a 34-run defeat at Leicesteshire Foxes, failing to chase down the home side's 207 for three.

Elsewhere in the North Group, Worcestershire Rapids beat Durham and Derbyshire Falcons tied with Notts Outlaws.

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