Steelbacks targeting North Group leading pack as they head to Durham

Durham were 10-wicket winners over the Steelbacks at the end of last month (Picture: Peter Short)Durham were 10-wicket winners over the Steelbacks at the end of last month (Picture: Peter Short)
Durham were 10-wicket winners over the Steelbacks at the end of last month (Picture: Peter Short)
Northants Steelbacks will go level on points with Vitality Blast North Group leaders Worcestershire Rapids with a win at Durham on Tuesday evening (start 6.30pm).

But if they do claim a victory, they still might not even be in the top four!

That is down to the somewhat bonkers nature of the North table, with all the teams currently beating each other.

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Following their win at Rapids on Sunday, the Steelbacks remained seventh in the table on six points - just two points off the top three who are Rapids, Birmingham Bears and Notts Outlaws.

A win at Durham would move the Steelbacks on to eight points and level with that top three, but thanks to their lesser run-rate, it is most likely the would remain outside the top four.

The only other North Group fixture tonight see sixth-placed Yorkshire, also on six points, travel to rock-bottom Leicestershire Foxes who, despite having one just one of their opening six matches, find themselves just four points off quarter-final qualification!

It really is a wide open section, and Sunday's match-winner Saif Zaib admitted: "T20 is always like this.

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"Last year we were top of the group with five or six games to go, and ended up not qualifying.

"That is T20 cricket for you, and hopefully we can now get a bit of momentum and sort of take it as deep as we can. Hopefully we can then get into that qualifying spot."

Northants have named an unchanged squad for the trip to Durham, and David Willey and his team-mates will have a score to settle.

It was a little more than a week ago that Durham were emphatic 10-wicket winners when the two teams met at the County Ground, with Graham Clark hammering an unbeaten 102 to see his team past the Steelbacks' inadequate 137 all out.

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Leg-spinner Nathan Sowter was the scourge of the Steelbacks batters, claiming a career-best five for 15 - he has taken just four wickets in his next four matches.

Durham won their opening four games in the competition, but then on Sunday suffered a shock seven-wicket home loss at the hands of Leicestershire Foxes, who were thumped by eight wickets by the Steelbacks on Friday.

There could be two ex-Steelbacks players in the north east side's ranks. Brandon Glover played when the sides met at Wantage Road, and Wayne Parnell has now joined Durham as an overseas player.

Both are in the squad to take on Northants.

The Steelbacks are next in action on Friday when they travel to Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Bears.

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They then have a week off before hosting Lancashire Lightning on Friday, June 16.

Durham squad: Bushnell. Clark, de Leede, Doneathy, Glover, Jones, Lees, Parnell, Raine, L Robinson, O Robinson, Sopwter, Trevaskis, Turner

Steelbacks squad: Willey, Cobb, Gay, Heldreich, Keogh, Lynn, McManus, Russell, Sanderson, Sales, Tye, Taylor, Vasconcelos, G White, Zaib

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