kevin sharp is looking for worcestershire rapids to press home their strong position in the royal london one-day cup and secure a semi-final tie at New Road.
the rapids will go into today’s (friday’s) match with holders notts outlaws at trent bridge in pole position in the north group with three matches remaining.
the top team in both groups automatically secures a home semi-final with the second and third teams in both groups playing-off for the other semi-final places.
head coach sharp believes the county are starting to play to their “true potential”, combining resilience with skill, after a challenging start to the season in the specsavers county championship.
he said: “there is a lot of optimism about the group and, although things didn’t go to plan in the championship, i always felt something special would happen at some point.
“i know it’s still early in the season and we are just over half-way in the one-day cup but we are in a good position now.
“it’s ours to get a grasp of and hopefully get a home tie. that’s what we are looking for.
“notts will be a difficult game but our stats against them are quite good of late so we can go there with some confidence and i’m sure we will give them a very good game.
“do we need one more win to get through? i’ve not studied it too deeply to be honest. as a coach, sometimes you don’t because you can get yourself in a right twist if you are not careful.
“the key is just to prepare for the next game, and win it, and if you keep winning, then you will qualify. we know that.”
the rapids overcame testing challenges to defeat lancashire and leicestershire to put themselves in the driving seat in the north group.
sharp said: “we’ve got a very good environment and culture. the lads, i believe, are enjoying their cricket.
“we are starting to play to our true potential now and long may that continue.
“there is a lot of resilience in this team and we also showed that in county championship cricket although we didn’t get over the line in some of those games.
“there is a lot of fight and resilience and a lot of skill and talent and that is coming to the party now.”
sharp has had time to reflect on callum ferguson’s incredible 192 against leicestershire when the rapids achieved the most successful run chase in english cricket – 377.
he said: “to see so many runs scored on that pitch was incredible especially as it was a used wicket as well, the same one as used for the lancashire game.
“we actually thought it might get bit a little slower and lower and difficult to score on but it didn’t and to see so many runs in one day was remarkable.
“we saw the highest ever list a score from a worcestershire player – and on his debut. we knew he could play!
“his stats are very good in red ball and white ball cricket but that was as good an innings as you will see.
“for him to have come in and done that on his debut, after only playing a couple of league matches (for ombersley), was an exceptional performance.
“he is a fine bloke as well, he has been very professional the way he has gone about things and i’m sure he will make many more runs looking on the back of that.
“were we confident? i wouldn’t say over confident chasing 377. it’s a massive amount of runs but we do know we’ve got a very dangerous batting line-up and we know we are capable of doing some exceptional things.
“it was never doom and gloom amongst the lads at half-time and not a feeling of ‘we can’t get those.’”
josh tongue is included in the squad for today’s game after being rested for a second time in the competition against leicestershire.
sharp said: “josh is still young. there is a lot of cricket to come and we have got this policy of giving the lads a little break here and there where we can.
“it’s a long summer, we are playing until the end of september and we have got a bowling squad that is very capable.”