Friday, June 6th, 2014

Mitchell Backs Quality Of Rapids Squad During Moeen’s Absence

Mitchell Backs Quality Of Rapids Squad During Moeen’s Absence

 Skipper Daryl Mitchell believes Worcestershire Rapids have enough ability to qualify for the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast even in the absence of key all-rounder Moeen Ali while on England duty.

Moeen was unavailable for tonight's five wicket win over Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road and Saturday's home clash with Durham Jets (2.30pm start) after being chosen for the first Test against Sri Lanka.

But Mitchell has faith in the entire Worcestershire squad and feels four or five more victories from the remaining nine games could seal a last eight spot.

He said: "We miss Moeen obviously because it is like having two players really.

"He gets through his four overs more often than not and is a brilliant striker at the top of the innings.

"But it is what it is and we wish him well and hope he has a blistering debut in Test cricket.

"Can Worcestershire still qualify without Moeen? Absolutely. We showed tonight that we have got the ability.

"It's a squad game isn't it. Gareth Andrew was just about ready. He was available as a batter tonight but he has not played any cricket so far.

"He was supposed to play in the Seconds this week but both games were rained off. That gives us another dimension as well if we can get Gaz back in the side, particularly when he is bowling in a couple of weeks time.

"There is ability in that squad. Tom Kohler-Cadmore came in and did very well.

"It is all about putting in the performances consistently. We've won three on the trot now which is really pleasing.

"We are probably slightly ahead of where you have to be to qualify.

"I think if we can win four or five of the remaining games we should get to a quarter-final spot."

Mitchell took over at the top of the order from Moeen and scored an unbeaten 67 against the Foxes but he was quick to praise the contribution of the other batsmen.

He said: "It was really nice to get over the line. It was a really tight game, and we've come up short in previous years in the tight ones so it's nice to get a win.

"I think 164 was maybe a shade above par but it was a really good chase and a pretty good wicket.

"It is a big field and there were lots of twos and threes out there which is good for a nudger like me.

"We found the boundaries at the right time in our innings and I always felt we were pretty much ahead of the game and in control until the second last over which only went for three.

"It was nice to get the six off the last ball of the final over. "

Mitchell admitted he set out to play the anchor role after pushing up the order.

He said: "That is what I set out to do. I tried to do it from number three in the previous games but kept getting out!

"Without Moeen here, I thought that was my role whether we batted first or second, try and get to 15 overs at just over a run of ball, and it gives the guys around me freedom to clear ropes which they all did.

"Richard Oliver got us off to a blistering start again, Tom Kohler-Cadmore coming back into the side again struck the ball lovely and Colin Munro as well.

"All their strike rates were good and they hit the boundaries at regular intervals which took the pressure off me. All I had to do was try and get one and get back on strike."

Mitchell praised the quality of the Rapids fielding which had dipped below-par in the defeat by Lancashire Lightning at Old Trafford.

He said: "It has been excellent. There were a few harsh words at Old Trafford to be honest.

"It is something we pride ourselves on and no matter what your ability is, everyone can field well if you put the hard work in. There have been a lot of hard yards gone into that and some decent athleticism from the guys as well.

"They spend a lot of time in the gym and hopefully we can continue to field well. "