Parnell concentrating on Vikings test as Steelbacks aim to make it three in a row

Wayne Parnell won't make any big predictions that the Steelbacks are going to charge up the North Group table and qualify for the Vitality T20 Blast quarter-finals - but he knows he and his team-mates do now have a chance.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 9:53 am
Updated Saturday, 26th June 2021, 9:54 am
England Test captain Joe Root is set to skipper Yorkshire Vikings against the Steelbacks in the absence of David Willey

Northants made it two wins on the spin with a very impressive seven-wicket triumph over Lancashire Lightning at the County Ground on Friday, just a couple of nights after dispatching Durham by nine wickets at the Emirates Riverside.

And from looking like absolute no-hopers having gleaned just one point from their opening six fixtures, the Steelbacks are now in the mix for a top four finish.

Yes they remain bottom of the table, but the gap to the top four that was eight points going into the clash at Durham is now down to just four, while leaders Yorkshire Vikings are only six points better off.

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Northants all-rounder Wayne Parnell

That gap would also be trimmed to four if the Steelbacks can claim a third straight win when they face the Vikings at Headingley on Saturday evening (start 6.30pm), and for now at least, that match is all that Parnell is focusing on.

Asked if he believes it is possible for the Steelbacks to still reach the last eight, the South African international said: "If we win every game and get the odd result go our way, all we need to do is get that fourth position.

"Then once we get into play-off cricket then everything is possible.

"We can't get to ahead of ourselves though, as there might be a rained off game somewhere down the line or whatever.

"The most important thing now is to get on that bus up to Yorkshire, to reset and then try to win that game and see where we are."

The Steelbacks have at last gained some positive momentum, but it is going to be a big ask to see off the Vikings on their own patch.

Of their five homes matches so far, they have won four and had the fifth rained off, but they did suffer a setback on Friday night when they were beaten by 34 runs by Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road.

Yorkshire will be without their skipper and former Northants star David Willey, as he is on England T20 international duty along with Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore is out with a broken finger.

They can still boast a star-studded line-up though, including current England Test skipper Joe Root and off-spinning all-rounder Dom Bess, former England batters Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance and New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson.

Root captains the side in Willey's absence.

The Steelbacks are expected to name an unchanged squad from Friday night's win over Lightning.