Ripley confident Steelbacks can sink Sharks and seal place at T20 finals day

Northants head coach David Ripley
Northants head coach David Ripley

David Ripley says Northants Steelbacks can use the confidence gained from recent 50-over successes to prevail in Wednesday’s NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final at Sussex Sharks.

The Steelbacks head to Hove desperate to deliver a win that would secure a place at the Edgbaston finals day on August 29.

And Ripley’s men are in buoyant mood, having finished third in the North Group and won three of their past four matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

“We’ve had lots of people contributing and played some good 50-over cricket,” said the head coach.

“We’ve won three of the last four in the 50-over competition so we’re confident.

“I’m sure Sussex are wary of our players just as much as we are of theirs and it will be a good battle on the night.”

Northants showed their T20 pedigree back in 2013 as they upset the odds to win the tournament.

And Ripley is desperate to see his side reproduce those heroics this time round.

He said: “We’re here to play and challenge in big games and it’s a big deal to be playing in those games.

“We’ve been there fairly recently and we want to experience that again.

“It’ll be a tough game with it being away, we just want to do ourselves justice on the night and if we play to our best then I’m confident that we can win.”

Sussex have some big-hitters in their side, including the likes of Luke Wright and Chris Nash.

And Ripley knows those threats must be nullified early on in the Sharks’ innings if the Steelbacks are to earn the progress.

“They’ve got Wright and Nash who have been very good and the opening batsmen will be a big part of their power play,” said Ripley.

“We’ve taken a few wickets with the new ball and we’ve got plenty of options that we can have in that first six so that will be a real key battle.”

Northants have a clean bill of health for the quarter-final showdown, with the exception of Adam Rossington.

Ripley said: “We’ve had some rest since the brilliant performance (in the Championship win) at Kent and they’ve all come through pretty well.

“Adam Rossington isn’t going to make it. He hasn’t made as much progress as we’d like. He’s got a back problem so he’s just not going to be fit.

“But all the other lads are raring to go.”