T20 preview piece
Northamptonshire Steelbacks 2023 T20 Vitality Blast gets underway on Wednesday 24th May as they welcome Worcestershire Rapids to Wantage Road.
Kicking off their campaign against Worcestershire, the Steelbacks will be hoping to make use of their home advantage towards the start of the Blast.
Worcestershire finished bottom of the group stage last season, losing 11 of their 14 fixtures in 2022, but the Rapids have signed New Zealand duo Mitchell Satner and Michael Bracewell for the 2023 edition who bring plenty of experience to their ranks.
The Steelbacks first away game of the season comes away to Derbyshire Falcons on 29th May, who finished third in the group last year.
The last of Northamptonshire’s 14 group stage games sees John Sadler’s men travel to Old Trafford on Sunday 2nd July to face the 2022 runners up Lancashire Lightning.
The Steelbacks have 4 of their first 5 games at home at the County Ground as they aim to go further than last season’s disappointment of a strong start but ultimately going out in the group stages and not making the knockout round.
The top four of the North and South groups will go through to the Quarter Finals, with an opportunity to progress to Finals Day at Edgbaston on 15th July.
Northamptonshire have used the overseas market efficiently this season, re-signing last season’s top run scorer Chris Lynn, along with the addition of fellow Australian AJ Tye.
Lynn was in sensational form last season, scoring 516 runs, including two centuries and four half centuries, across the 14 group games last season.
The Australian batsmen smashed club records over his Blast stint, breaking the highest score (113), total runs in a T20 campaign (516), and number of sixes over a single campaign (29).
Fast bowler AJ Tye brings a wealth of experience to the squad, having played more than 200 T20 matches within his career and has been a crucial figure for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash. The 36-year-old is also the competition’s second highest wicket taker in history and became the quickest player to reach 300 wickets in T20 cricket worldwide.
Tye also brings a winning mentality to the team, having won the Big Bash four times over his long career and having also played on the biggest stages on an international level.
Ten years on from their famous 2013 Blast victory, the club will be hoping to reignite their winning form this year.
One man who will know about what it takes to win the competition as a Steelback is David Willey, who was an integral member of the 2013 squad. The all-rounder has re-signed for the club, takes the Captain’s armband and will be available for the entirety of the Vitality Blast.
Willey played an instrumental role with the ball and the bat in the Steelbacks T20 win in 2013, claiming figures of 4-9, which included a stunning hat-trick while also smashing 60 off 27 balls as Northamptonshire beat Surrey by 102 runs.
The England international signed a 4-year-deal at the County Ground last summer.