Ish Sodhi says Worcestershire Rapids produced “as close to a complete performance as you can ask for” when defeating Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road on Friday evening.
The Rapids, who entertain Lancashire Lightning tomorrow (Sunday), triumphed by 32 runs to follow on from their tie against Notts Outlaws, in which they showed tremendous fighting spirit to earn a valuable point.
Moeen Ali hit a half-century, and there were also valuable contributions from Brett D’Oliveira and Ben Cox with the bat.
The bowlers then gained control with the pacemen picking up wickets in the powerplay and Sodhi and fellow spinner Moeen taking command during the middle overs, and some superb catching and fielding backed them up.
Sodhi, who finished with 1-22 from his four overs, was full of praise for the role played by D’Oliveira is a partnership of 94 with Moeen.
He said: “If you win any T20 game by 30 to 40 runs, they are massive wins, and as far as performance goes, it is as close to a complete performance as you can ask for.
“In all my time, I’ve seen some great players get two off 16 deliveries and hang in there, and that’s exactly what Brett.
“Moeen played a phenomenal knock, and he is a world-class player, and you almost come to expect it these days from Moeen.
“But I think Brett played a great support role, getting to the stage where he was scoring well over a run a ball after having quite a tough period at the time.”
Cox’s 26 off ten balls gave the Rapids innings late momentum.
Sodhi said: “I’ve seen him play a lot over the last few years, and he has often used the pace of the bowlers a lot and has hit behind the wicket.
“But he looks like he has worked a lot on his power game.
“The way he is hitting the ball at the moment, if he can continue to make contributions like that throughout this tournament, we will go a long way.”
D’Oliveira set the tone for a superb Rapids performance in the field when he held onto Richard Levi’s full-bloodied drive at backward point from the first ball of the innings.
Sodhi said: “It was a great catch by Brett. He is a phenomenal fielder and shows a lot of energy.
“To get a world-class cricketer like Richard Levi out early goes a long way to restricting teams, and that is exactly what we did tonight.”
Sodhi felt himself and Moeen were able to take advantage of the good work done during the powerplay by the seamers.
He said: “I guess we benefitted because they were four or five wickets down, and that’s the key, taking wickets in the power play.
“The stats show if you take three wickets in the powerplay, you are generally on the winning side, and we took four within the first seven overs.
“That is massive, and it is really hard on the surfaces like this, when your spinners bowl and there is a little bit of hold (grip), to go from ball one (with the bat).
Sodhi says the Rapids will be prepared for the challenge posed by Lightning tomorrow (2.30pm start)
He said: “They are a serious team, a serious batting line-up, great power hitters, and we are going to have to adjust.
“I think they are going to bring a big power game, so we are going to have to be aware of their strengths and try and exploit any weaknesses.”