Worcestershire Rapids batter Brett D’Oliveira was delighted to be back playing at New Road, and saluted the “amazing” atmosphere after hitting a Vitality Blast best score of 71 in the win over Birmingham Bears.
D’Oliveira surpassed his previous best score of 69 versus Leicestershire Foxes last summer and entertained a capacity crowd in a high scoring local derby which provided great entertainment.
It was the perfect way for the Rapids to launch their home programme with a meeting with Leicestershire Foxes to follow on Sunday afternoon (2.30pm start).
D’Oliveira said: “It was a really enjoyable game to play in and great to get off the mark with a win.
“I thought the crowd and the whole atmosphere being back here at New Road was amazing. It’s always great to play here.”
D’Oliveira fielded with typical enthusiasm and skill on the boundary and enjoyed the banter with the spectators on a Bank Holiday Friday.
He said: “You try and take it one or two ways. You can try and ignore it or get involved and getting involved, it is always nice, and I enjoy a bit of banter with the fans.”
Worcestershire posed an impressive 217-5, with Jack Haynes and Colin Munro also making sizeable contributions.
Then their bowlers and fielders combined to ensure the Bears fell short.
D’Oliveira believes the addition of captain Moeen Ali and Dwayne Bravo gives the Rapids more major bowling options.
He said: “They had to come out swinging; the state of the game dictated that, and we bowled the ball in the right areas and got the chances to take those wickets, and that is what happened.
“That was a really good wicket, and the boundaries weren’t absolutely massive, so it made really challenging for the bowlers, plus the wind was gusting to the shorter side.
“So we had to be tactically really smart when we bowled, and how we bowled, but having those options with DJ, who is world-class, and Mo, who is world-class, adds a lot to the team.”