Thursday, July 6th, 2023

Vitality Blast Quarter-final squad news and preview

Head Coach Alan Richardson has praised the “incredible desire to win” of Worcestershire Rapids pace bowler Pat Brown ahead of Friday’s Vitality Blast quarter-final with Hampshire Hawks at the Ageas Bowl (7pm start).

Richardson is delighted to see Brown back in the kind of outstanding form he showed for the Rapids when winning the Blast in 2018 and finishing runners-up 12 months later.

The England T20I player has put previous injury setbacks behind him and has 24 scalps in this summer’s Blast with only Zak Chappell and Zaman Khan (Derbyshire Falcons) and Ben Green (Somerset) ahead of him.

Brown has moved into second spot in the Rapids all-time list of T20 wicket-takers with 95 after over-taking Jack Shantry (92) and only Daryl Mitchell (101) lies ahead of him.

His boundary fielding has also been of an exceptional quality and his catch to dismiss Wayne Madsen in Sunday’s winner takes all meeting with Derbyshire was crucial.

Richardson said: “Pat has been fantastic this year and I’m really pleased for him because he burst on the scene in 2018 and 2019 and did really well.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for him with injuries so he’s not really had that opportunity and this time, for the first time since then, he’s had an opportunity to play lots of cricket before the T20 which no doubt has really helped him.

“He puts his heart and soul into it, he is very emotional in a good way. He directs it in the right way and he has an incredible desire to win and to help the team win.

“He has that about him which is a good trait to have.”

Richardson is also full of admiration for Brown’s willingness to deliver some of the most challenging overs in T20 cricket.

He said: “Pat has created a lot of opportunities and does a job for us that not many people would want to do.

“He bowls the really tough overs. In virtually every game he has bowled over number six for us, the last over of the powerplay, which historically is very tough.

“Pat has also bowled two of the last three or four overs virtually every game. Pat has got the mentality, he loves doing it, he understands the volatility of the game.

“Some days it will go really well and he will take wickets and help us win a game of cricket and other times it doesn’t go so well. But he understands that and deals with that really well.”

Brown’s protection of the boundary and willingness to run full pelt to save precious runs has been a feature of the Rapids fielding.

Richardson said: “His contribution in the field as well has been excellent. He is one of our best fielders, and he took an outstanding catch on Sunday to get rid of Wayne Madsen.

The amount of stops he does on the boundary is brilliant. He does a lot of hard work out there plus having to bowl those tough overs.”

Richardson believes the Rapids have the match-winners to beat anyone on their day in the Blast.

He said: “Whoever you were going to play in the quarter-final, they would have had a really good tournament.

“Hampshire are a very strong team and recent history says they get to finals day a lot.

“They have some match-winners, but so have we, and I believe on any given day we can beat anyone in the country.

“It is fantastic that we have given ourselves the opportunity to prove that.”

The Rapids have named an unchanged squad to face the Hawks, the 11 in action against the Falcons plus Jake Libby, Matthew Waite and Ben Gibbon.

Worcestershire Rapids squadBrett D’Oliveira ©Jack HaynesMitchell SantnerAdam HoseKashif AliBen Cox (W)Ed Pollock
Usama MirDillon PenningtonPat BrownAdam FinchJake LibbyMatthew Waite
Ben Gibbon