Steve Rhodes praised the fightback by Worcestershire Rapids with ball and then bat as they overcame Birmingham Bears by five wickets in the NatWest T20 Blast derby at New Road yesterday evening.

The Rapids twice looked to be in unpromising positions with Birmingham 129-1 in the 13th over after being put into bat and then claiming three early wickets when the home side launched their reply.

But fine bowling by George Rhodes (4-13) and Matt Henry (3-15) plus some excellent fielding and catching saw the Bears collapse to 164 all out.

Then two crucial partnerships between Daryl Mitchell (61) and Brett D'Oliveira and then Ross Whiteley – 42 not out off 20 balls – and Ben Cox saw the Rapids over the line and keep their qualification hopes alive.

Director of Cricket Rhodes said: "It was great to see Ross (Whiteley) and Ben (Cox) finishing the game for us and they are both excellent players towards an end of an innings.

"Whilst they were both at the crease I did feel as if we were going to win it.

"It was set up in two areas – by the fightback in the field and with the ball after Birmingham were going at 10 an over for a long period of time.

"We stuck to it and got a couple of wickets which meant the 'in' batters (Matthew Wade and Sam Hain) were out, and suddenly we could block them up a little bit and bowling them out was a great effort.

"Matthew Wade is a class act, he is a top international player and much sought after for his striking with the bat.

"He was hard to bowl at and he played really well and hit the ball so sweetly but we hung in there and that was the important thing.

"T20 cricket is an amazing game. You are never really out of it and that turnaround spurred us on"

Rhodes add: "The comeback with the bat was led by Dolly (Brett D'Oliveira) and Mitch (Daryl Mitchell) and it was a fine partnership and both of them showed really good maturity.

"Mitch has played a long time now so his experience told but Dolly is also getting an older head on his shoulders now and he is showing some nice class.

"It was an important partnership in setting the lads up for towards the end of the innings.

"Even after losing those wickets early, with those two cool heads in Dolly and Mitch they set up a good finish for two more cool heads in Ross and Ben."

George Rhodes picked up three wickets in an over and his scalps included Wade.

Rhodes senior said: "He has done well in the games he has played.

"What is really important is he's shown he wants to contribute and he can contribute and he doesn't look out of place which is really nice.

"He looks as though he belongs there and that he has played more games than he has and that's a positive thing."