RICH PYRAH remains bullish about Yorkshire’s NatWest T20 Blast chances despite losing one “we should have won” against reigning champions Northamptonshire on Friday.

Yorkshire lost their opening night fixture by three wickets with one ball to spare as they failed to defend 162-7 at Headingley.

After the high hopes of bouncing back from last season’s nightmare T20 campaign, it was a significant blow to lose a match in which they were able to call upon England internationals Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan and Joe Root.

The Vikings recovered superbly from 87-6 in the 13th over to set Northants 163 thanks to 36 from Liam Plunkett and 34 from Bresnan.

All-rounder Pyrah then impressed with his canny seamers in his first senior appearance of the summer to return 2-21 from fours overs as the chase went right down to the wire.

“It feels like a game we should have won, but again we’ve lost on the opening day of the campaign, which we’ve done for the last few years,” said the 31-year-old.

“It is disappointing, but we’ve got a talented side there, and I think it showed the strength in depth we’ve got, losing wickets early on and still getting to 160.

“It’s our first game, so we can get a bit of momentum from the way we played and try and win against Warwickshire (on Friday).

“We’ve got a strong squad, and we bat all the way down. But you can’t rely on that. Ideally you want one of the top six to go out there, score a 60 or 70 and win us the game.

“Northants are a good team on a roll after winning it last year, but we should be winning those games. We’re not out of it. Twenty20 cricket is very much a form game. If you get on a winning run, you can go a long way.

“We’re not too down about losing the first game. We haven’t won the first game of this competition for a while now. If we can get on a run, we’ll give ourselves a good chance.

“We’ve got all bases covered. We’ve got some hitters down the order, which we showed, and we’ve got four quicks as well as myself and Adil Rashid in the middle. We just need to get on a winning run now.”

Given Friday was Pyrah’s maiden first-team appearance of 2014, owing much to the strength of Yorkshire’s bowling attack in the Championship, it was an impressive performance as he picked up the wickets of big hitters David Willey and Steven Crook.

“I’ve played a few Twenty20 games in the second team for the last few weeks,” he added. “It’s not playing for the first team, but I’m experienced now. I know my game and my role in the team, so it’s just down to me to go out there and nail it.”

A strong Yorkshire side will play the first of three T20 friendlies against league XIs tonight at Abbeydale in Sheffield. They face a South Yorkshire XI at 5.30pm tonight before travelling to Harrogate and York tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Vikings next competitive T20 fixture is against Warwickshire, otherwise known as Birmingham Bears in this format, under lights at Edgbaston on Friday (6.30pm).