Ripley: Steelbacks relishing Lancashire test

The Steelbacks were beaten by Lancashire Lightning in the final of last season's NatWest T20 Blast competition (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
The Steelbacks were beaten by Lancashire Lightning in the final of last season's NatWest T20 Blast competition (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Northants head coach David Ripley is targeting a minimum of one win from the two NatWest T20 Blast games this week.

The Steelbacks head to Old Trafford tonight (Thursday) to face Lancashire Lightning before returning home for the clash with Durham Jets tomorrow.

Ripley’s men won their first three games in the competition, but were beaten by three wickets at North Group table-toppers Worcestershire Rapids last Friday.

And they are now desperate to get back on track to keep building momentum as the halfway stage of the tournament approaches.

“You’ve got to try to get up for every game because they do come thick and fast,” said Ripley, whose side were beaten by two wickets in the Royal London One-Day Cup match at Yorkshire Vikings on Tuesday.

“We are playing some good cricket and if we continue doing that, I’m sure we’ll be a match for Lancashire.

“It will be nice to get back to home territory on Friday and if we play at our best, we can beat Durham at home.”

The Steelbacks were beaten by 13 runs by Lancashire in last season’s NatWest T20 Blast showpiece at Edgbaston.

But they beat Lightning by 76 runs in the One-Day Cup last week, and Ripley is in confident mood.

“It’s always a nice place to go and play,” he said.

“It’s a good test, they’re defending the trophy and it will be good to pit ourselves against them.

“It would be nice to think we could win one of the two and then we can get one or two injured guys back.

“We know we can finish the competition strong, with Seekkuge coming back and hopefully we’ll have others back fit and well.

“We’ve got to hang in there and play the best we can.

“It’s important we can get a win this week. We’ll be busting a gut to do that because otherwise the early momentum will be lost a bit.

“We’ve already won some tight games and it’s small details that can make a difference.”

Northants this week announced that former Yorkshire seamer Moin Ashraf would be joining the county on a short-term deal.

And Ripley is also making progress in his bid to recruit another overseas play to cover for Rory Kleinveldt, who is out for six weeks with a side strain, and Seekkuge Prasanna, who has been called up by Sri Lanka for the one-day series against England.

Ripley said: “We’re speaking to one of the cricket boards and waiting to see if we can get a no objection certificate from them for a player to come for a month, so that’s where we’re at.”