Sadler backing Steelbacks to bounce back against Outlaws

John Sadler is backing the Steelbacks to bounce back from their opening night defeat when they host reigning champions Notts Outlaws in the Vitality T20 Blast at the County Ground on Sunday (4.15pm start.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 7:00 am
Northants batting coach John Sadler
Northants batting coach John Sadler

Northants got their T20 summer off to a disappointing start when they went down to a 32-run loss to a Moeen Ali-inspired Worcestershire Rapids on Friday night.

But they quickly get the chance to get their North Group campaign on track when they take on the competition's 2020 winners at Wantage Road.

The Outlaws will arrive in Nortrhampton having failed to win either of their first two matches.

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Ben Duckett returns to the County Ground with Notts Outlaws on Sunday

They threw away a match-winning position to tie with the Rapids in their opener on Wednesday, and then lost out in a high-scoring clash with Birmingham Bears on Friday.

The Outlaws attack was flayed for 229 for five at Trent Bridge, with Notts then falling short at 211 for nine.

It is a side stacked with quality players, including former Northants batsman Ben Duckett and ex-England man Alex Hales, and Sadler knows it is going to be a testing encounter.

But the Steelbacks batting coach is backing the players to rise to the occasion.

"Every team we are going to play against is a good side, and every team has match winners," said Sadler.

"That is the beauty of T20 cricket in that everybody can beat everybody.

"We will reflect on Friday's game, we will dust ourselves down, and we will come back Sunday and go again.

"We know that if we turn up and perform then we can beat anybody on our day."

The loss to the Rapids was a disappointing one for the Steelbacks, but there were some positives, with perhaps the biggest being yet another excellent innings from Saif Zaib.

The left-hander has enjoyed an excellent red ball season, and he carried that form into the T20, hitting an enterprising 36 from 21 balls to try and get his side back into the game after they had slumped to 98 for seven.

Asked about the player's potential in white ball cricket, Sadler said: "I wouldn't say he is a one-day player, I would say he is an all format player.

He has already shown that in red ball cricket, and he is getting better every day.

"He is growing, he is learning, he is very, very keen, he works hard and he is going to be a star for many years, I am sure of that.

"He probably had a little bit too much to do on Friday, he got us somewhere near and it was a shame he didn't quite get us over the line, but he had a good night."