Sadler confident Steelbacks can clinch top three place in Royal London One Day Cup

John Sadler is confident the Steelbacks can book themselves a place in the knockout stages of the Royal London One Day Cup - but he knows it is going to be tough.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 5th August 2021, 1:01 pm
Northants coach John Sadler
Northants coach John Sadler

Northants face a hectic run of four games in the space of seven days that will determine their fate in the 50-over competition, starting with a trip to Edgbaston to take on the Birmingham Bears on Friday (start 11am).

They then host Somerset on Sunday, travel to Grantham to take on Notts Outlaws on Tuesday, before wrapping up their Group B campaign with a home date against Leicestershire Foxes next Thursday.

The Steelbacks are currently seventh in the table, but their fate is very much in their own hands as they are just a point off third place, and three shy of leaders Glamorgan having played a game less.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The top three qualify for the knockout stages.

After a frustrating start to the campaign that saw Northants lose their opener to Glamorgan and then see matches at Yorkshire and Surrey rained off, they got off the mark with a crucial win against Derbyshire on Sunday.

That has boosted everybody at the County Ground, and Sadler, who is standing in as head coach with David Ripley on duty in The Hundred, believes qualification is now very much in their grasp.

“I think we are going to need at least two wins I would have thought, and then it will depend on how other things go, but we are trying not to look too far ahead,” he said.

“We are just going to attack the next game as best we can, because we can only really focus on what is in front of you.

“It is going to be a tough week and it is very physically demanding for the players.

“In some regards, the stop-start stuff we have had with the weather has kept our lads fresh which is good, and although we have had a bit of travelling up and down the country, that is part of the game.

“If we feel we need to rest somebody, particularly one of the bowlers if they are feeling it, then we have options.

“We are quite confident and we have got a good squad to go and attack these four games in seven days, and then hopefully beyond that as well.

“It is exciting, and hopefully we can get some more good performances in, get a few more wins and get up that table.”

And on those top three chances?

“I am confident we have the squad to do it,” said Sadler.

“We need to play some good cricket, and we know it’s not going to be easy because there are some good teams to come.

“But I know we have the players to do it if we put the performances in.

“The plans are good, people know their roles and we are good. We just need the lads to execute those plans on the day and hopefully they will.”

Northants have lost Graeme White to The Hundred, but Luke Procter could be available again after his compassionate leave.

Seam bowler Nathan Buck is the only injury concern as he has a slight calf strain.