Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach hailed an “extraordinary” innings from Moeen Ali as the Rapids sealed a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final spot.
The Rapids all-rounder followed up his 3-40 in 10 overs by hammering a 64 ball century in a one wicket success over local rivals Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
It was a reminder of Moeen at his brilliant best after a challenging international winter and a lack of early season runs in the One-Day Cup
Leach said: “In what is a quarter-final game in effect, you want your big players to stand up and he has done that.
“I wouldn’t say he has single handedly won us this game but his bowling performance was first rate. Right at the top, we had a plan to (Ed) Pollock and it worked with Moeen.
“To be fair, I thought he captained fantastically as well. I threw him in at the deep end and he captained very well.
“Then to play the way he did there was extraordinary. When you are chasing a score, it is sometimes difficult to watch. It’s that good, you want it to carry on going.
“The neutral would have just loved that innings. Mo has been through a tough few weeks and we are really pleased he has done it on this stage in front of the Sky cameras and he has done it for us and we are really proud of him.
“Everytime he puts a Worcestershire shirt on, he gives his all.”
Ed Barnard’s cut for four off Keith Barker ensured the Rapids stormed over the finishing line to top the North Group for the second year running.
Leach said: “If we keep winning them I don’t mind finishes like that. That was a great win. It was with the odds, against the odds, then with the odds again and then we conspired to make it tough for ourselves at the end.
“But thankfully Barny showed a lot of composure and got us over the line
“Hain and Ambrose batted well for them and we kind of took a lot of heart from that at half-time.
“We spoke about the pitch and the suggestion was at 120-5 it might have been a little bit difficult but, all the feedback we’ve had since then, is that it was a very good batting pitch.
“The way Ambrose and Rhodes played was very calm, very calculated, but they could also play their shots which meant the pitch was better than 120-5 which is what they were when those two came together.”