Steelbacks will keep calm and carry on despite early Blast disappointments

Rob Keogh insists there is no sense of panic in the Steelbacks dressing room despite the fact the team have lost their first two matches in the Vitality T20 Blast.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 7:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 7:42 am
Rob Keogh hits out on his way to 45 in the defeat to Notts Outlaws

Northants have endured a testing start to their campaign, suffering successive County Ground defeats at the hands of Worcestershire Rapids and Notts Outlaws, leaving them rock bottom of the embryonic North Group table.

David Ripley's side play their third home game in the space of just five days on Tuesday night when they host Birmingham Bears (start 6.30pm), before two road trips at the end of the week to Derbyshire Falcons (Thursday) and the Rapids again (Friday).

And although Keogh knows a win is very much-needed against the Bears to get things up and running, he also knows it won't be the end of the competition if they don't.

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There is still plenty of time left in what is a 14-match group stage, and Keogh said: "In 2015, I think we lost the first three group games and then went on be runners-up in the competition.

"It is always nice to get momentum towards the back end of the group stages rather than at the start.

"Last year we got off to a flyer in the group and then just about qualified, and you don't have that momentum that you have from finishing the group well.

"So we just have to take the positives from the first games and take it from there."

The Steelbacks recent record against the Bears has been pretty good, and they beat their rivals in both group matches last season, including that remarkable back-from-the-dead success at Edgbaston in the final round of group matches.

"We always seem to do alright against the Bears, so touch wood that continues," said Keogh.

"We have to take the positives from the two games we have played and just see if we can patch it all together.

"We always back ourselves to win at home, the crowd are brilliant here at Northampton and they get right behind us.

"We only have a few games left at home now (after tonight Northants will have only four home games out of 11), but hopefully we can pinch a win on Tuesday and then try and sneak a couple of away wins and get into that top four."

And he added: "Things can turn around very quickly, and if certain things go your way you end up on the winning side, and if they don't you end up on the losing side like we have done in the first two matches.

"But we are looking forward to Tuesday, there are a lot of positives to take from Sunday and hopefully this time we can get over the line."

The Steelbacks are sweating on the fitness of skpper Josh Cobb, who suffered what looked like a hamstring problem during his innings of 62 from 32 balls against Notts on Sunday.

Northants are also still likely to be without Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who has had to undergo a mandatory quarantine in a London hotel following his arrival in the UK on June 5.