Friday, June 10th, 2016

Rhodes Names 14 Strong Squad For Rapids Return Meeting With Steelbacks

Rhodes Names 14 Strong Squad For Rapids Return Meeting With Steelbacks

Steve Rhodes says Worcestershire Rapids will have to be "on their mettle" in the return NatWest T20 Blast clash with Northamptonshire Steelbacks at New Road this evening after naming a 14 strong squad (5.30pm start).

Rhodes has chosen the players in action in last week's defeat at Wantage Road – minus Moeen Ali and plus Ed Barnard, George Rhodes, Chris Russell and Charlie Morris.

George Rhodes made his County debut in the Royal London One-Day Cup triumph over Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley on Tuesday.

Barnard played in the opening three games of the competition before making way for Moeen.

Steve Rhodes is hopeful New Zealand paceman Matt Henry will be fit after picking up "a niggle" in the match at Wantage Road.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell is expected to revert back to the top of the batting order after moving to number four to allow Moeen to open last Friday.

The Rapids had won their previous three T20 Blast matches and the setback against the Steelbacks ended a run of seven successive away victories in the competition.

Rhodes is full of respect for the Rapids opponents and says they are a side packed with boundary hitters.

He said: "I can't fault the players. Whatever we seemed to do last Friday, it didn't work. We got Moeen back and he was disappointed he played in a side which got beat which is ironic

"We shouldn't take anything away from Northants. They are an extremely good T20 side.

"They won it two or three years ago, they were runners-up last year, they beat us last year and we beat them in the group stages.

"They are a side that know how to play T20 cricket. We know how they play T20 cricket. They've got a very aggressive batting line-up that boundary hits.

"If you look at the amount of boundaries they hit compared with the average, then you can see their strength is boundary hitting.

"They are a dangerous, dangerous team. You should never take them for granted in T20 cricket and we didn't. We knew they would be tough opposition.

"They certainly played an 'A' game against us, they played extremely well, and it was credit to them. They forced us to a low total and also smashed their way out of that situation and won convincingly.

"It was a day like T20 is where things didn't quite go our way. That game was a good example of playing against a good T20 side that is under-rated but they have got a good record.

"When we play them next time on Friday we have got to be on our mettle because they are a good side."

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G. Rhodes