Alex Wakely says that the Steelbacks are in as tough a position as he’s ever experienced.

Despite putting in an improved performance in the field in Chester-le-Street, Wakely’s team still went down to a sizeable defeat to the high-flying Durham Jets, whose march to the Vitality Blast quarter finals took another big step forward.

“It’s the same story and a hard pill to swallow,” he told BBC Radio Northampton at the Riverside. “We just can’t get anything going. We’re trying different stuff with the resources that we’ve got available and nothing seems to be working. It’s a tough place to be at the minute.

“I’ve never been in a position where it’s been this tough. I’ve never lost as many games in a row in any form of cricket, captain or non-captain. It’s testing me, it’s testing the coaching staff and it’s testing the players.

“The only thing I can say is that everyone in the dressing room is trying to win. Everyone is going to give us some stick and that’s fair enough, but we’re trying to do everything we can to turn it around, but it’s just not working.”

The Steelbacks did get on top of the Durham openers, restricting them to 40 in their opening six overs. But Paul Collingwood and Liam Trevaskis put together a 48-run partnership, and the England veteran reached an unbeaten 50 with the last ball of the innings.

What one experienced international had done with the bat another did the same with ball in hand, South African Imran Tahir spinning his way to figures of 4-16, including the wicket of Steven Crook just as the Australian looked to have been getting on top of the bowling with a quick-fire 21.

By then the damage had been done, not least by James Weighell, who took out Ben Duckett and Josh Cobb in the same over, and Nathan Rimmington, who got the rarest of feats in Twenty20 cricket, namely a wicket-maiden.

“We did bowl a bit better,” Wakely added. “We had some good plans in place and the bowlers stuck to it. There were a few too many twos for my liking. They did have home advantage and they knocked the ball in the gaps, but I felt like it was a bit better in the field. 

“We had 22 extras in the game and if you have that then you’re not going to win too many games of Twenty20 cricket. It was still 20, 30 runs too many and we were chasing the game from there.

“We didn’t have one partnership and lost wickets at crucial moments. It’s the story of our season in all forms of cricket. We keep losing wickets at the wrong time.”