Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Bumpy Stresses Need For Rapids To Maintain Momentum In Hunt For Home Tie

Bumpy Stresses Need For Rapids To Maintain Momentum In Hunt For Home Tie

Steve Rhodes has stressed the importance of Worcestershire Rapids ending their NatWest T20 Blast qualifying campaign on a high note – and not just to ensure they secure a home tie in the quarter-finals.

The Rapids are on the verge of qualifying for the last eight for the third time in four years with two games to spare after last night's win over Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley thanks to Ross Whiteley's explosive 91 not out off 35 balls with 11 sixes.

Victory in their final two games against Derbyshire Falcons and Lancashire Lightning will ensure a top two spot and a first ever quarter-final at New Road.

It will ensure a healthy financial pay-day for the Rapids although ironically some of their most outstanding form has been on their travels with five successive away wins.

And Rhodes also wants the Rapids to maintain momentum for the battles ahead in the business end of the competition.

Director of Cricket Rhodes told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "Mase (assistant coach Matt Mason) said to me in the dug-out 'what the hell are we going for a home quarter-final for, we are playing so well away from home.'

"But obviously we owe it to our crowd to try and get a home quarter-final so that they can enjoy the rest of the T20 season.

"We've got two more games, and we want to keep momenetum going. If I remember rightly, we just dropped off a little bit towards the end of our qualifying campaign last year.

"I don't think it put us in the best of states for the quarter-finals.

"We will be looking to try and keep momentum and confidence high hopefully going, if we can win games of cricket, into a quarter-final at home."

The Rapids ensured there was no way back into the game for Yorkshire after Whiteley's explosive knock and the home side were bowled out for 117 to lose by 73 runs.

Rhodes said: "It was a big team performance and one really big performance from Ross Whiteley.

"He's done it in a few games and if he doesn't get it in the middle of the bat, it can also go for six!

"He's played an amazing innings. He's got long levers, he gets bat speed through the ball from a good base and he's a big strong lad and the ball goes flying.

"I'm glad he is playing for us and we are not bowling against him.

"Looking at the wicket and reflecting on when we were 10 overs into our innings, the message we got was we should try and aim for 160. With Ross in, we got quite a few more.

"The guys who took the pace off the ball (Brett D'Oliveira and Saeed Ajmal) were outstanding and we fielded well again and they know their roles in the field and you start to work like a well oiled unit."