Northamptonshire Steelbacks enhanced their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Vitality Blast as they completed a double over Worcestershire with their fourth win in six matches this season.

But in contrast a fourth successive defeat has left Worcestershire with an uphill challenge to reach the quarter-finals.

As during Friday’s game with Notts Outlaws, batting was not straightforward on a two-paced hybrid pitch.

The Steelbacks were indebted to a stand of 75 between Matthew Breetzke and Sikandar Raza against some accurate seam bowling.

Worcestershire also had to scrap for runs and Ethan Brookes provided the backbone of their innings with his joint highest T20 score.

But Northamptonshire also produced a disciplined bowling performance to restrict the home side, Ben Sanderson finishing with 3 for 16, and also fielded excellently.

Worcestershire made two changes with on loan England spinner Shoaib Bashir and Rob Jones replacing Josh Cobb and Matthew Waite.

Northamptonshire skipper David Willey won the toss and opted to bat and he looked uncomfortable alongside fellow opener Matthew Breetzke.

Willey had a slice of good fortune when he inside-edged Nathan Smith for four and was then dropped at cover on 14 off Tom Taylor.

But Adam Finch made the breakthrough when the former England all-rounder pulled a delivery straight to deep mid wicket.

West Indies leg spinner, Hayden Walsh, struck when George Bartlett came down the wicket and lost his middle stump.

Ravi Bopara then went for a big hit against Ethan Brookes but only found the hands of Adam Hose at long on.

Matthew Breetzke and Sikandar Raza then featured in the mainstay stand of the innings in adding 75 but scoring never came freely.

Three wickets in two overs checked the Steelbacks hopes of obtaining some late momentum.

Former Northamptonshire all-rounder Tom Taylor removed both of the partnership-makers in the 19th over with Breetzke, who completed a 41 balls fifty, ct at mid-off and Raza following at long on.

Finch then trapped Saif Zaib lbw.

When Worcestershire batted Raphael Weatherall enjoyed a success in his first over when Rob Jones, opening in place of Matthew Waite, was caught behind off a delivery of extra pace.

Ben Sanderson struck twice in the space of three balls. He had new number three, Gareth Roderick (5) taken at mid wicket and then two balls later Adam Hose (0) lost his middle stump at 31-3.

Brett D’Olivieira and Ethan Brookes batted sensibly in adding 46 but Worcestershire’s Club captain then spooned up a catch to mid on off Raphael Weatherall.

The game was back in the balance when Bartlett pulled off a fine catch at deep backward square to account for Brookes off the recalled Willey.

Smith and Pollock also perished in the deep as Northamptonshire ensured they maintained their grip on proceedings.