Worcestershire Rapids skipper Daryl Mitchell admits he relishes opening the batting in NatWest T20 Blast cricket after another sizeable contribution in the three run win over Durham Jets at the Emirates ICG.
Mitchell was the Rapids leading scorer in the competition last season and is again the top run-getter to date in 2015 with 204 from five knocks.
He scored his second half century of the current campaign with 56 off 49 balls and also weighed in with the wickets of Calum MacLeod and Paul Collingwood from successive balls.
The 31-year-old went to the top of the order last summer after Moeen Ali's elevation into the England side.
Mitchell said: “It would have been nice to get a hat-trick. I’ve not had one of those. But it’s most important to get the win.
"It’s nice to get a few runs on the board and take a couple of wickets as well. I don’t get too many wickets myself.
“I’ve really enjoyed opening the batting. It’s a role that I really enjoy and it’s one that I didn’t do previously (in T20 cricket) with Vikram Solanki and Moeen Ali playing regularly.
"I always batted down the order. It was nice to get out there with the new ball and do something.
"I didn’t particularly play well (versus Durham) but I anchored the innings to enable us to get a score."
The Rapids totalled 159-5 with Tom Kohler-Cadmore making a competition best 53 not out and then recovered from an early mauling with the ball by Mark Stoneman – 35 off 14 deliveries – to restrict the Jets to 156-7 with Saeed Ajmal returning 3-16.
Mitchell said: “The most important thing was getting the two points and trying to force our way up the division.
"We got a decent score, perhaps just shy of par.
"I thought we started really poorly, we’ve set our standards higher than that in the past and I thought we didn’t take control of the ball.
"Credit to the lads to show some spirit to fight back, helped by a little bit of magic from Saeed Ajmal.
"The wizard is back and that was a fantastic spell from him.
“You’re never out of it, you have to keep fighting and putting the ball in the right areas. We kept getting the wickets we needed.
Durham batsman Phil Mustard said: “It’s a very disappointing result. We were in pole position. We’ve had a big chat in the dressing room about it.
"We needed 54 with seven wickets in hand and for a team of our stature we should never get beat from that position. The boys are very disappointed. We didn’t perform to our ability today and it was a very disappointing day.
“You have to look at the bigger picture, we should have never taken it down to the last two overs, that’s the biggest disappointment in the dressing room.
“It was a pretty good pitch and we thought 160 was an attainable target. We were in the game until 10-12 overs out. Then as soon as we lost myself and John Hastings, we had a few too many dots and the run rate crept higher on us.
“Last week at Derby we were down and out and we won it. It’s a bit of cat and mouse, that’s the thing about T20, you’re never out of the game and you’re never safe."