Worcestershire Rapids will begin their preparations in earnest for this summer's NatWest T20 Blast during the forthcoming week.

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes confirmed that the first team squad will participate in the two Second Eleven T20 friendlies against Somerset at Taunton Vale on Wednesday (April 29) and the two matches against Cardiff MCCU at Bromsgrove CC on Friday (May 2).

The Rapids reached their second quarter-final in three years last season before losing to Surrey at the Kia Oval.

They played some thrilling cricket during a run of six successive victories in their group which included wins over 2013 holders Northamptonshire and the eventual 2014 winners Warwickshire.

Then Ross Whiteley's memorable 84 off 38 balls in the decisive final game against Derbyshire at New Road ensured a last eight spot.

New Zealander Colin Munro is again the Rapids T20 Blast overseas player in 2015 after finishing second highest scorer to skipper Daryl Mitchell last summer.

He has just signed for a spell with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

Rhodes, speaking after the LV = County Championship defeat by Sussex at Hove, said: "There are two days of second team T20 cricket and this squad will be involved going forward.

"It's a good opportunity before the T20 Blast starts to play some of that format of cricket and get some practice in."