Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Bumpy: Being Flexible Key Factor In Rapids Tactics

Bumpy: Being Flexible Key Factor In Rapids Tactics

Steve Rhodes has stressed the benefits of Worcestershire being able to keep opponents guessing about their tactics – because of the strength of depth of their batting order.

Director of Cricket Rhodes says flexibility in the way the Rapids tackle the challenges in front of them is a key factor.

The Rapids again changed their batting order to good effect in the Royal London One-Day Cup win over Warwickshire at New Road yesterday.

John Hastings was promoted up the order and scored a vital 36 to help sustain momentum after the Joe Clarke-Ben Cox partnership.

Then Ross Whiteley, who had been held back, put the icing on the cake with 35 not out to seal a fourth win in six group games.

The County had adopted similar tactics when juggling with their batting order in the low-scoring Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire when Hastings and skipper Joe Leach moved to the top half of the batting order.

Rhodes told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "We try to have some flexibility in our cricket. We don't want the opposition to read what is going to happen.

"We've got batters who can bat in all positions and in that case against Warwickshire the aim was to try and make the most of two 'death' periods before the end of the second powerplay.

"We thought was an opportunity to score some runs….. and similarly holding Ross Whiteley back to the very end of the match (was part of the plan)

"As I said to the boys, we need flexibility in our order, it makes us unpredictable so we can put batsmen in as horses for courses and the tactics worked really well in that chase.

"Whoever bowled in the last five overs before the end of that second powerplay, we were going to try and take advantage just like you do at the end of an innings.

"We didn't know whether they were going to bowl Jeetan (Patel) against John (Hastings) but he played really well against the seamers as well.

"He is a class player and like all our guys down the order……Ed Barnard, he is a very good finisher as well now. He plays lots of difference shots and he wasn't needed.

"It is a nice situation to be in."

Rhodes added: "We were a bit disappointed we let it go a bit towards the end of their innings but, having said that, we put a lot of character and fight into that chase and, when we did get out there, we had a very simple plan to try and smash it and win.

"It was a case of being aggressive but then we played quite smart and had some different tactics."

Rhodes also felt there was a massive improvement in the fielding display compared to the performance in the 152 run defeat against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford in the previous game.

He said: "It was an incredible fielding effort I thought. I mark the fielding and there were 39 runs saved by three players in Ross Whiteley, Ed Barnard and Brett D'Oliveira.

"That was an amazing effort.We doubled any of the runs saved of any of the games we've played so far in this tournament.

"I was delighted with the fielding and we need that to continue."