About the Match
The defending champions, Northamptonshire Steelbacks have found the going tougher this time around as they sit near the bottom of the table with three wins from six matches. Their opponents for this match are the rejuvenated Worcestershire Rapids that upset the Nottinghamshire Outlaws in their last match. We could have a six hitting fiesta on our hands in this one.
There is no other team with the T20 pedigree that Northants has in its side and this is why the defending champions were finalists in three of the last four editions of the NatWest T20 Blast. This, however, does not mean that they can take things for granted as they are in an extremely competitive league that seems to be improving all the time.
The Northamptonshire Steelbacks have a fantastic batting lineup that is capable of scoring massive runs. Richard Levi, up at the top of the order, has started off well in the tournament and scored a brilliant 88 in his last outing.
Keogh and Duckett too have been very good, scoring 123 and 192 runs from 5 innings each already. Ben Duckett is the man around whom this batting order revolves. His ability to score runs consistently at a high strike rate without necessarily clearing the boundary is a huge asset.
Rory Kleinveldt and Adam Rossington have not quite got going in the tournament so far but their six hitting ability down the order lends punch to the scoring in the end overs.
While the batting has been delivering for the Steelbacks, the same cannot be said for their bowling. A failure to take early wickets regularly has put pressure on the spinners and this will have to be corrected in the upcoming matches.
Gleeson and Kleinveldt have taken 6 wickets between them this season so far and only Tabraiz Shamsi has looked threatening to the opposition batsmen.
The Worcestershire Rapids may only have one win to their name right now but they seem to be a team that is on the upswing. Of course, momentum is a tricky thing to depend on in this format of the game but there is no doubt that confidence in the camp would be high after defeating a strong Nottinghamshire Outlaws team.
A fantastic inning at the top of the order by Joe Clarke who scored 60 off 27 deliveries and another one down the order by Ross Whiteley who scored 42 off just 16 deliveries meant that Worcestershire put up a 200 plus total in their last match.
The Rapids have quickly become a six hitting machine thanks to Whitely who has 17 to his name in this tournament already. Others like Joe Clarke, OB Cox, John Hastings and Mitchell Santner have also shown that they can clear the field quite comfortably.
Mitchell Santner is also central to the bowling of the Rapids as he and Daryl are the only bowlers to be giving away runs at less than 9 per over in the entire squad. Clearly, the Rapids are having trouble keeping the runs down and this is where someone like John Hastings needs to step up.
He is the joint highest wicket taker in the team, alongside Santner, with 5 wickets but his economy rate of 11.68 is terrible for a seasoned international player.
The Rapids will go hard at Northants with the bat, as they have done so in their last game, and it is a high-risk strategy but one that has a much better chance of coming off if their bowling falls into place as well.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather at Northampton is gray and scattered thunderstorms are predicted for the day time. There is, however, hope that the weather will clear up by the time the match gets underway. The pitch at Northants is flat and slightly slow.
Scores of around 180 should be considered par.
Northamptonshire to wi