Worcestershire Rapids went down by seven wickets to Northamptonshire Steelbacks in this evening's NatWest T20 Blast clash at Wantage Road.

Brett D'Oliveira scored a half century for the Rapids and there were other useful contributions from Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner.

But Steelbacks openers Richard Levi and Adam Rossington made sure their side would reach a 159 target by putting on 72 via nine fours and four sixes in the first five overs.

It was the Rapids fifth defeat in six matches with one game abandoned and they are now at the half-way mark of the group stage.

The Rapids were put into bat and came up against a fine new ball spell from Richard Gleeson (3-12 from four overs).

Joe Clarke (8) inside-edged onto the stumps, Ben Cox (2) did the same when looking to drive a ball of full length just outside the off stump and a superb yorker accounted for John Hastings (0) first ball.

The Rapids were 35-3 after the powerplay but but Santer tried to inject some momentum into the innings with the night’s first six over long-on as Steven Crook’s first over went for 13.

Santer struck another six off Rob Keogh over long-off but picked out the same fielder after making 37 off 27 balls.

The New Zealander and D’Oliveria recovered the Worcestershire innings from 58-4 in the 10th over – when Daryl Mitchell, after reaching 33, was given out caught behind trying to cut Keogh – to 105 for 4 in the 14th.

But three wickets then went down for just six runs, including the in form Ross Whiteley for one, caught at deep midwicket.

D’Oliveria was left with the lower-order to try and put together a competitive score.

He was dropped by Ben Sanderson diving forward at short third-man on 32 and went on to flat-bat Sanderson, now with ball in hand, down the ground and drove him past extra-cover before heaving a ball out of the ground over mid-wicket in the penultimate over of the innings.

D'Oliveira worked Rory Kleinveldt through midwicket for a sixth boundary that brought him a third T20 fifty in 30 balls and helped add 47 runs from the final four overs of the innings.

When Northants replied, Rossington made 42 in 20 balls before sweeping Rapids skipper Joe Leach – the fifth bowler in seven overs – to long-on.

Levi made 47 from 32 balls before chipping Hastings straight to cover as Northants reached 100 for 3 a the half-way stage, Ben Duckett also out caught and bowled for a three-ball duck.

But Northants captain Alex Wakely (46) and Keogh (22) added an unbroken 66 in eight overs for the fourth wicket to see Northants home in 17.4 overs.

Santner again returned excellent figures of 4-0-24-1 and Hastings 4-0-20-1 for the Rapids.

Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes said: "“We were three down and they were nought for 72 in the first six overs and that was the difference.

"A yard short with a catch for Jack Shantry to Richard Levi could have been the difference but we were smashed in the power-play.

“Richard Gleeson bowled very well, swung the ball with good pace and then we didn’t seem to have the attacking weapons that they had."