First Team Coach Alex Gidman believes holders Worcestershire Rapids have produced an “outstanding effort” in this season’s Vitality Blast.
Gidman feels the Rapids have “improved” as a T20 team this summer in overcoming several challenging situations – and that the best is still to come.
Injuries to Brett D’Oliveira, Ben Twohig and George Rhodes left the Rapids short of a spin option in the short format of the game where slow bowlers often thrive until Moeen Ali recently returned after England duty.
Having to play three red ball matches – two Specsaver County Championship and three-day tour game versus Australia – has also meant the Rapids dipping in and out of the Blast and making it difficult to obtain any rhythm and continuity in T20 cricket.
But they are still in the mix to retain their title and Derbyshire Falcons surprise victory over leaders Lancashire Lightning yesterday (Monday) has made the equation simple for skipper Moeen and his team-mates.
One victory – or collecting one point from a tie or wash-out – will ensure qualification for the quarter-finals and two wins will guarantee a top two spot alongside the Lightning – and a financially rewarding home tie.
The Rapids entertain Notts Outlaws tomorrow (4pm) and visit Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Friday.
Gidman said: “I haven’t really looked at the fixtures and potential results and we will just focus on what we need to do to try and get a little bit better (than Sunday against Lancashire) for Wednesday and hopefully give those guys a good game and see where it takes us.
“We are a confident bunch and one of the great strengths about this group is we are always honest about what we can do better and try to do better.
“Sometimes it is not always possible, we don’t always quite get it right, but I know the lads will be disappointed but really eager to put things right and come back with a really strong performance on Wednesday.
“From the club’s point of view, with the difficulty we’ve had this season with the weather (floods) and what have you, it will be great to get a home quarter-final.
“From my point of view, it’s about trying to win as many games as we can for Worcestershire and trying to defend our title, give it as good a shot as we possibly can.
“I actually think we’ve improved this year when you consider the injuries, the fact we’ve had three red ball games in between T20 games, three different captains, and two games without an out and out spinner in what has been traditionally a format that suited spin.
“As a result I think it has been an outstanding effort to get this far. I believe the best is still to come from this team in this competition and hopefully we are in good stead to finish the competition strongly.”
The Rapids will select from an unchanged squad of 13 – the players in action against Lancashire Lightning plus Joe Leach and Charlie Morris.
Moeen Ali (c)