Steelbacks bidding to produce perfect performance against Falcons

David Ripley wants a big performance from his Steelbacks side against the Falcons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
David Ripley wants a big performance from his Steelbacks side against the Falcons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

David Ripley wants the Steelbacks to produce the perfect performance when Derbyshire Falcons come calling at the County Ground tonight (start time 7pm).

Northants kick-started their Vitality T20 Blast campaign last weekend as they delivered a devastating bowling display to defeat Birmingham Bears by 21 runs.

Ripley's side defended a revised total of 133 with ease as the Bears, who were previously unbeaten, stuttered, finishing their 16 overs on 111 for eight.

But the Steelbacks have been below par with the bat in each of their three completed matches so far.

And Ripley is eager to see them improve in that area, while also maintaining their tenacity in the field.

"We played really well in terms of our bowling and fielding last Friday," Ripley said.

"We did the same at Durham and we competed pretty well at Nottingham, but it was hard to assess that because they always had another gear to go to if they needed it.

"Unfortunately our batting hasn't quite fired in the games so far, so it's a bit of a role reversal from last year when we came out of the blocks well with the bat but found it hard to defend totals and restrict players. We were on the end of quite a few guys scoring hundreds.

"We're still striving to put the perfect game together, that's our aim, and that's what we'll be looking to do on Friday night.

"We need a better batting performance, to maintain our bowling and hopefully we can get ourselves an even more impressive win than we had last Friday.

"I feel it's there, I feel we've got enough in our team to have a good run at the top four but we've got to earn that because it's a tough competition.

"You can see by the results that it's pretty tight and I'm sure that will continue to the end."

Table-topping Lancashire Lightning are the only team yet to lose in the North Group as the anyone-can-beat-anyone nature of the T20 Blast continues in 2019.

And Ripley said: "You look at the squads in the competition and you think you'd lose your money if you didn't have Notts and Lancashire to finish in the top four.

"With the squads they've assembled, you'd think they were pretty short odds to finish in the top four, and then everyone else has a chance of making up the other two spots.

"We're one of those teams, as are Derbyshire.

"It's always a rollercoaster because rarely does a team get on a roll and beat everybody.

"Leicestershire were bottom of the table and they went and beat Notts, who are well up near the top, so there will be plenty of twists and turns.

"We've just got to keep taking each game at a time and when you get to the last three games you take notice of who's around you and you try to protect your run rate a little bit.

"It's always going to be tight with games rained off and you just try to win well where you can and avoid losing heavily.

"It will start to get a bit tight towards the end but at the moment it's about trying to play the best cricket you can and keep yourself in the mix until the end."