Pat Brown has revealed the determination of the Worcestershire Rapids to make up for Royal London One-Day Cup heartbreak when they bid to reach T20 finals day via the Vitality Blast for the first time this weekend.
Brown, the leading wicket-taker in the Blast this summer with 27 victims, and his team-mates have shown themselves to be the most consistent white ball team in the country by winning the North Group in both major competitions.
They lost the One-Day Cup semi-final by two wickets to Kent in a see-saw game which could have gone either way at Blackfinch New Road after brilliant centuries by Rapids wicket-keeper Ben Cox and Kent’s Heino Kuhn.
It has given them an extra edge to try and ensure there is no repeat of that disappointment when they face Gloucestershire in this Saturday’s home Blast quarter-final.
Brown, who celebrates his 20th birthday today, said: “It is a great opportunity for us to get to finals day, which we haven’t done before, and all of the lads are really driven to do that so hopefully we can put on a good show, show what we can do, and get through.
“I’ve been there to watch one. I saw Warwickshire win it a few years ago now. It was when Chris Woakes bowled the last over to Andrew Flintoff when he made his comeback (in 2014).
“I was 14-15. It is a great atmosphere. It is a brilliant day. It is a long, long day and hopefully we can get there.
“Does the semi-final loss give it that extra edge on Saturday? It probably makes us more keen to put that right.
“We learnt quite a lot as a team, I know I certainly did and other lads as well probably learnt a lot from that heartbreak.
“Hopefully we can all use that to get to finals day and go all the way, use that as an experience to help us on Saturday.
“The game against Kent could have gone either way. To be fair, throughout the group stage we were on the right end of that sort of result more often than that.”
Brown added: “We don’t play Gloucestershire very often in T20. We will show them plenty of respect. Any team that finishes in the top four is a good team.
“Over 14 games, to win enough to qualify, means you are a good side and there are some good teams in that South Group.
“Hampshire won the One-Day Cup and they are nowhere in the T20, It shows the strength that teams have so Gloucestershire will be a good test for us. But hopefully we can show that we just a bit better.”
Worcestershire quickly emphasised there was no hangover from the semi-final setback as they overcame Lancashire in a County Championship game by 202 runs the following week before enjoying a successful Blast campaign.
Brown, who is studying business management at the City Of Worcester University, has spearheaded the Rapids attack to great effect after initially breaking into the first team squad last summer.
He said: “This group has got real character and we’ve shown that on lots of occasions whether it be during a game coming back from a situation where we look like losing or, as in the semi-final, being 30-3, and scoring 300
“We’ve got lads who will stand up during a game. We’re a strong group where after a loss like that we can use it to our advantage and get back on the horse.”
Brown’s crop of Blast wickets have come in just 12 games compared to the 33 in 19 games by Somerset’s Alfonso Thomas in 2010 – the best ever in an English domestic T20 campaign.
He said: “I couldn’t tell you why it is happening or what I’ve done to make this T20 season go so well for myself but, whilst it is going so well, I’m going to try and hold on for as long as I can and keep doing what I’ve been doing.
“I’ve been told a few times about not being far off the record (by Thomas). It’s not something I’d looked at until I was told. It is a good thing to go after. I was aiming for 30 about half-way through. If I get to 30, I’ll be really happy.”
Rapids skipper Moeen Ali has been impressed with Brown’s performances and told the players after last Friday’s win over Birmingham Bears that he was producing international class bowling.
Brown said: “I got a bit of a blush on when he said that. It’s real nice to hear of someone of his stature who has gone to the IPL and played a lot of cricket in all formats for England.
“It is lovely to hear that. I know I’m not there yet and maybe I never will be but it’s nice to hear that sort of compliment from someone like him.
“I’ve been trying to bowl the same last year when it wasn’t going so well. I’ll do the same next game on Saturday regardless of what people say, whether I’ve taken 10 wickets or 27.
“It’s nice to hear but I’m trying to say grounded and carry on trying to do the right things.”