Northants captain Alex Wakely said his side had produced the complete performance last night as they breezed past Middlesex in the T20 Blast quarter final at Wantage Road, booking a place at Finals Day with a comprehensive seven wicket victory at Wantage Road.
A fine bowling display restricted Middlesex to 132-7, Rory Kleinveldt with three wickets, whilst Richard Gleeson and Seekkuge Prasanna took two apiece, before Adam Rossington’s unbeaten 67 guided Northants home with few alarms.
It will be a third appearance at Finals Day in four years for Wakely’s men, and the skipper was proud of his side, whom he said have put Northants back on map, coming through a group stage riddled with injuries, but with many a match winner in their ranks.
“It’s a really good feeling right now. I’m proud of what we have achieved; obviously we haven’t won anything yet but to get back there, put Northants on the map, again. People had forgotten us and hopefully people will take us a bit more seriously now,” he said.
“Three out of four is pretty good, for a small club like Northants. Everyone writes us off all the time, no-one gives us a chance but we’re there now and if we can keep playing the cricket we’re doing people are doing to start noticing Northants.”
“We bowled brilliantly, we talked about bowling a hard length regardless of the pitch and Rosso was so calm out there. I’d say that’s the best innings he’s played so far for us. He was calm and put his foot down at the right time and I think today was a complete performance.
“Someone’s always stepped up to the plate; someone’s always played that match winning innings, got the early wickets or took that catch and that’s the best thing about this team: it really is a team, there’s so much talent anyone can win us a game at any moment.
“We have had lots of injuries, we’ve had lots of changes of personnel in different roles in the team; we’ve had to have different people taking the new ball, different people opening the batting, different people in the middle order and it’s testament to this team, someone has always come in and performed.”
Having won the title in 2013 and lost in the final 12 months ago, and with a semi-final defeat back in 2009, Wakely is now determined for his side to go the whole way, and is confident the Steelbacks can beat whoever is put in front of them.
With Finals Day being staged at Edgbaston once more, Wakely described the Birmingham venue as feeling like a home ground, and hopes that familiarity can help once more.
“The club’s aim is to get to Finals Day and now we’ve got there we want to win it. I’ve been three times now and gone through everything: lost a semi-final, lost a final and won a final, so hopefully we’ll get that gold again.
“It’s a great day, probably one of the best in the domestic set up.
“We’ve been in the same changing room every time so far, so hopefully we’ll get designated that again. We love going there, it almost feels a bit of a home ground for us, but we haven’t achieved anything yet.
“It’s a great achievement to get to Finals Day, but there’s no worse feeling than losing like we did last year, so we want to go one better. We’re playing great cricket, I don’t think it matters who we play, it’s all about turning up on the day.”