Steve Rhodes hailed Worcestershire Rapids all-rounder Ross Whiteley's demolition of Derbyshire Falcons with a six-hitting blitz in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Whiteley had endured a difficult first full season at New Road and is currently not part of the side in the LV = County Championship.

But he has made several telling contributions in T20 cricket and left the best of all to the last group game with 84 not out off just 38 balls with nine sixes to set up a 28 run which which secured a quarter-final trip to Surrey.

Director Of Cricket Rhodes said: "I thought Ross Whitely's innings was outstanding. I think he got nine sixes which was an amazing effort.

"He has had a tough old season and when he goes out and plays like that you know why we signed him because he is a terrific talent and can clear the ropes.

"The great thing is he's got a hundred in the Seconds and had a couple of 50s and, playing like that tonight, it was a tremendous innings which can only give him confidence.

"Added to that, it was a very important knock here when we beat Durham on TV which was only 20 odd which was crucial.

"He has made vital contributions and his fielding has been stunning throughout the campaign.

"I'm very optimistic he can build on that because when he hits the ball as clean as that, he's a very exciting cricketer and we are very pleased to have him."

The Rapids totalled 209-4 but were pushed for long spells of the Falcons innings before they closed on 181-7.

Rhodes said: "I thought Derbyshire pushed hard, a bit like when we were at Old Trafford earlier in the season and for 14 overs we were in that game chasing a huge score.

"To their credit Derbyshire gave it a go but I thought the bowling of Joe Leach was the difference between the two teams.

"He was impeccable in the way he bowled. I'm not too sure what he was doing with the ball but he must have been doing something and I thought he bowled really well.

"Derbyshire had nothing to lose, that was the thing, and their best player Wayne Madsen is a terrific batter in whatever format is put in front of him.

"They played well and at one stage they got 50 runs off about 15-16 balls in the middle of the innings and it got them right back in the shake-up.

"But this T20 is such an exciting game and can twist and turn and thankfully we got it back together and I thought Jack Shantry's over was crucial with Joe backing him up."

The Surrey clash will take place next Saturday at the Kia Oval (14.30 start).

Rhodes said: "It will be very difficult. They've played very well this year and it will be like when we went to Headingley in the quarter-final with 17,500 Yorkshire people there.

"It will be a difficult task trying to beat Surrey so it won't be easy at all.

"But they've had such a good qualifying campaign it is easy to trip up and have one bad game.

"We will be concentrating on what we can do and trying to take our 'A' game to that match. If they are not quite on the ball, then we will take advantage.

"Surrey are a quality team but the good thing about us is we are hard to predict in what we do.

"That can be a real gem of a thing in a knockout situation when the opposition can't predict exactly how we are going to play, be it with the ball or the bat."