Steelbacks on a high as they head to Nottingham for Outlaws test

Northants Steelbacks will be aiming to build on their impressive win over Durham when they take on Notts Outlaws in the Vitality Blast at Trent Bridge on Monday night (start 6.30pm).

By Jeremy Casey
Monday, 30th May 2022, 10:47 am
Notts Outlaws will have former Steelbacks batter Ben Duckett in their line-up
Notts Outlaws will have former Steelbacks batter Ben Duckett in their line-up

John Sadler's side bounced back in emphatic style at the County Ground on Friday, winning a high-scoring clash by 31 runs just 24 hours after a humbling 125-run hammering in their opener at Birmingham Bears.

And now they will be looking to back up that positive performance against a strong Outlaws side that will include former Northants man Ben Duckett in their ranks.

There is sure to be something of a party atmosphere at Trent Bridge, with many in the city still on a high following Nottingham Forest's promotion to the Premier League on Sunday.

And the Steelbacks will be keen to be party poopers.

Northants are likely to name an unchanged team for the trip up the M1, with all-rounder Jimmy Neesham unlikely to be in the UK in time due to his IPL commitments with Rajasthan Royals.

The New Zealander was an unused member of the squad as the Royals suffered a seven-wicket final defeat to Gujarat Titans on Sunday.

The win over Durham on Friday was a good one for the Steelbacks, who cracked 223 for four in their 20 overs thanks to 83 from Chris Lynn, 71 from Ben Curran and 36 not out from Rob Keogh.

The visitors looked like they were on course for what would have been a remarkable win, until left-arm wrist spinner Freddie Heldreich was introduced into the action.

The 20-year-old claimed the crucial wicket of opener Graham Clark, and then dismissed the dangerous David Bedingham and Ned Eckersley in the same over to turn the match Northants' way.

Heldreich ended with impressive figures of three for 22 from his four overs, and he said he felt the previous night's disappointment at Edgbaston was a one-off.

“Going into Friday's game we just thought let's just forget about it," said Heldreich.

"It wasn't our best performance and we were a bit down in the dumps about it, but the game plan was let's just forget and move on.

“My thinking when I took the ball, was the same as I always do, come on, try to take wickets.

"Also try to be economical, don't try and get whacked, but just try to take wickets, keep the pressure on the batsmen, no bad balls and just go through ball by ball really."

On a night when the ball was flying to all corners off most bowlers, Heldreich's economy rate of just 5.5 runs per over was as impressive as his three-wicket haul.

“I've spent a lot of time with Cobby (captain Josh Cobb) speaking about where I'm having my men who can just stop boundaries and it just clicked really," he said."I’m really happy coming off with as three-for.”

Friday's clash against Durham was only his seventh performance for the club, but he bowled like an old-stager, and he is confident he and his team-mates can back it up at Trent Bridge, whether they are defending or chasing.

“We've got a good enough bowling and batting line-up, I feel like we can do it if we set or chase," he said. "I back the boys either way.

"On Friday I rocked up and I was keen for us to bat first and I thought we could do it, get a big score and then defend it, and we did."

Outlaws have only played one North Group game so far, seeing off Worcestershire Royals by four wickets on Friday night.