T20 FINALS DAY: Ripley says Steelbacks relishing ‘underdogs’ tag

IMPRESSIVE - Northants Steelbacks celebrate a wicket in their semi-final win over Birmingham Bears (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
IMPRESSIVE - Northants Steelbacks celebrate a wicket in their semi-final win over Birmingham Bears (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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David Ripley admitted Northants were playing on their underdog tag after knocking out hosts and holders Birmingham Bears in Saturday’s NatWest T20 Blast semi-final.

The Steelbacks will face either Hampshire or Lancashire, who are currently battling it out on the same pitch, in tonight’s showpiece (start time 6.45pm).

Richard Levi’s unbeaten 63 steered Northants home by five wickets after David Willey’s destructive spell had claimed three Bears scalps.

And Ripley says his men have been fired up by the fact they are seen as outsiders among three larger counties on finals day.

“We like the underdog tag,” said the Steelbacks head coach.

“We came here with the longest odds, we’re the smallest county and we like to play that up a little bit, certainly outside the dressing room.

“But we’ve got as many match-winners as anyone else when it comes to T20 cricket.”

Northants will now look to upset the odds one more time as they bid to repeat their stunning 2013 T20 triumph at Edgbaston.

And Ripley is happy for his players to have some a bit of rest and relaxation before tonight’s final.

He said: “Birmingham were the favourites so it’s good to know you’re through.

“We’ve got our plans, the lads are going back to the hotel, we’ll reconvene and hopefully put a good show on tonight.”