Sanderson admits One Day Cup exit is 'a big disappointment' for the Steelbacks

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Ben Sanderson admits it's 'a big disappointment' that Northants have failed to reach the knockout stages of the Metro Bank One Day Cup.

With just two players away at The Hundred in David Willey and Saif Zaib, a near full-strength Steelbacks had targeted the 50-over competition as a genuine chance of landing silverware.

But Sunday's four-wicket defeat to Derbyshire at the County Ground, their third loss in a row, ended their chances of a top three finish, with Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire progressing from Group B.

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The Steelbacks batters once again struggled as they were bowled out for 201, with Luke Procter's 39 the top score.

Northants seam bowler Ben Sanderson (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)Northants seam bowler Ben Sanderson (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)
Northants seam bowler Ben Sanderson (Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images)

James Sales' 35 not out down the order helped lift the team from 153 for eight, but despite a strong bowling performance the total wasn't enough as Derbyshire got home at 203 for six with an over to spare.

It means the Steelbacks have failed to qualify from their group in both the Vitality Blast and the One Day Cup, and the red ball team are almost certainly doomed to relegation from the top flight as they are adrift at the bottom with four matches to play.

And on the exit from the 50-over competition, a deflated Sanderson admitted: “It’s a big disappointment not to qualify for the knockout stages.

"It was something we felt that we could do quite easily.

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"Obviously, the loss of Prithvi Shaw was key and that really hit us hard, and nobody really stood up and took on that role once he'd got his injury.

"So, we’re disappointed to go out like we have."

The loss of Shaw due to a knee injury was indeed pivotal, as the Indian had hit a double century and another ton to help the Steelbacks to three wins in their first four matches.

But they have lost the three games since he was ruled out, with none of the top order batters stepping up to the plate to take on his role as the team's batting anchor.

Sanderson felt the wicket at Wantage Road on Sunday was a tricky one, and he praised the bowlers for getting close to grabbing what would have been an unlikely victory.

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“I think we can be proud of how we fought back in that second half," said Sanderson. "I think that was a very good performance from our bowlers.

"I’ve not seen many teams be that consistent whenever a different bowler came on. They just hit that hard line and length and it showed it was challenging.

“We thought the pitch was a bit slow when we were batting on it. It was sticking in the pitch a little bit.

"We still felt we were well short. We wanted to try and load up with wickets for the back end, but obviously that didn't happen.

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"Every time we tried to play an aggressive shot, we seemed to lose a wicket. So, we were probably 20 runs short on that pitch in the end.

"But we figured out pretty quickly where we needed to bowl and what we needed to do, and we nailed it to be fair."

Northants have one Group B match still to play as they travel to Cardiff to play Glamorgan in a dead rubber on Tuesday (start 11am).

And Sanderson says he and his team-mates want to end the 2023 white ball campaign on a winning note.

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"There might be a few changes as there are a few niggles and what have you, and maybe a couple of the younger lads will play, I'm not sure what they are going to do there," said the experienced seamer.

"But we want to finish on a win, and try and take some momentum into the four-day stuff."