Cobb rues loss of early wickets as 'rusty' Steelbacks suffer opening Blast defeat
Skipper Josh Cobb was left to rue the loss of early wickets as the Steelbacks suffered a disappointing 32-run defeat to Worcestershire Rapids in their Vitality Blast T20 opener on Friday night.
With the supporters returning to Wantage Road for their first taste of T20 action since the summer of 2019, Northants were hoping to get their campaign off to a winning start.
But chasing a testing 186 to win the Steelbacks left themselves with a mountain to climb as they were reduced to 52 for four in the seventh over, with the top order all back in the hutch.
Richard Levi was out to the first ball of the innings, hammering a drive straight to Brett D'Oliveira at point and then Ricardo Vasconcelos went for a bg shot out and holed out for just one.
Cobb smashed five fours and a six in is 29 from 11 balls before trying his arm once to often and being caught, while Adam Rossington was bowled trying to sweep leg-spinner Ish Sodhi's first ball of the innings having made 22 from 16 balls.
They all gambled by going on the attack, and on this occasion it backfired.
Rob Keogh (26) and Saif Zaib, who made a breezy 36 from 21 balls - including five boundaries in a row - briefly raised hopes, but it wasn't to be as the Steelbacks limped to 153 for nine.
"We lost too many wickets early on," admitted Cobb, who also bemoaned some loose bowling, with both Keogh and Brandon Glover bowling deliveries that went for five wides..
"We bat deep and we want to play with a certain brand of cricket and aggression, I think we lost too many early.
"It was a good wicket and we could have gone a bit deeper.
"Worcester took their time in the powerplay (they were 36-1 compared to the Steelbacks 52-3) and they came out of it okay and went well from then on.
"We thought if we could get off to a good start, we knew they had two good spinners who would hold a bit and be a bit tricky.
"So we thought if we got off to a good start and try and get ahead of the rate we could keep ticking along."
That proved not to be the case, and with the top order gone, the spin twins of Ish Sodhi and Moeen Ali got through their eight overs for a combined return of three for 43, strangling the life out of the Steelbacks.
Rapids did have the advantage of having already playing a game, having tied with Notts Outlaws on Wednesday night, and Cobb did feel his team was a little rusty.
They are quickly back in action though as they face Notts Outlaws at the County Ground on Sunday (4.15pm start), and Cobb knows he and his players have to quickly get up to speed.
"We have had two days' training leading into this, so there was rustiness but we have to get into the competition now and keep working on our skills leading into the next few games," he said
"We have the next game on Sunday, but with them coming thick and fast it doesn't leave much time for training.
"So the lads will have to get in early and keep working on their skills, but it is a long tournament and there is plenty of time left."