Pat Brown said the “incredible belief” of the Worcestershire Rapids players and handling pressure situations helped them to squeeze home in their Vitality Blast semi-final with Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston today.
The Rapids were second favourites for much of the Outlaws pursuit of a 148 target but fine bowling by Moeen Ali (1-13 in four overs) and Brown himself (2-21) set up a final over in which Wayne Parnell conceded just five runs.
A nerve jangling finale saw Ben Duckett fail to score off Parnell’s final delivery.
Brown said: “You saw how tense it got. It was incredible. It just shows a team like ours, and a game like cricket, you can never count a team out.
“When we’ve got bowlers with the experience of Parny, Mo, Barny, Mitch, Dolly, they are the sort of bowlers we need in these pressure situations.
“That’s why we won the competition last year and that’s why we are in the final again this year.
“Was 147 enough? We knew we were 10-15 runs shy but in the huddle Mo said if there was any team that was going to defend this, it was us.
“We’ve proved that on other occasions. It is incredible, the belief we have in each other, and each other’s skills and decision-making.
“It is why we are such a good team in this competition.
“In those situations, you know the odds are stacked against you but you also know that two quick wickets can change things.
“On a pitch that has been slightly tricky for both teams, is not easy for new batsmen to come in and have to clear the ropes.
“Although eight or nine runs an over does not seem a lot at the death, when you are getting wickets and it’s a tricky pitch, it’s more than enough if you stick to what you are good at and execute properly.”
Brown praised the nerve shown by Parnell in his first appearance since recovering from a severe viral infection.
He said: “Someone of his experience is invaluable to have and, like I said earlier in the week, it’s not about what you first three overs go for sometimes, it’s what your last over goes for.
“Parny showed that today. You can’t always look at stats in T20 cricket in isolation. It is so circumstantial all of the time.
“It shows one over, one ball, tiny periods in T20 cricket can really make a big difference.”