STEVE Rhodes was full of praise for his entire bowling unit – not just spin wizard Saeed Ajmal – after Worcestershire wrapped up a dominant win over Derbyshire in LV= County Championship Division Two.
With all but 3.5 overs washed out on Sunday, Rhodes’ men triumphed in just over two-and-a-half days by an innings and 64 runs, maintaining their unbeaten start.
Pakistan star Saeed led the way with match figures of 8-100, but seamers Gareth Andrew, Charlie Morris and Jack Shantry provided excellent support to create a platform.
Director of cricket Rhodes said: “What was pleasing was we were all desperate to keep Saeed out of the attack for quite a while because it meant we were doing well.
“It also meant we could unleash him onto the middle order and tail. The seam bowlers did a great job and Charlie, in particular, took a few wickets. Apart from (Wayne) Madsen, who played him extremely well, the rest struggled.
“It didn’t turn much but I was right behind the arm and, watching some of Saeed's deliveries, he is such a clever bowler.
“He has six or seven different types of deliveries now and seems to be able to land them all. He is a real handful and long may that continue for us.”
The batsmen set up the County's victory charge with a first-innings 432-9 that allowed skipper Daryl Mitchell to declare overnight and give his bowling unit the full 96 overs.
But they needed just 57 as Saeed again came to the fore with 4-40 from 20 bamboozling overs.
Ex-County batsman Stephen Moore (4) was caught by Mitchell at second slip off Andrew to go with his first-innings duck.
Billy Godleman (10) was soon pinned on the pad playing back to Charlie Morris.
The stoical Shivnarine Chanderpaul crucially fell to Morris after being caught low at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
Chesney Hughes (12) and first-innings centurion Madsen settled the visitors’ innings.
But, after Hughes occupied the crease for 20 overs, he lost concentration before lunch as Saeed found the edge and Mitchell's safe hands.
After the interval, an unplayable Saeed delivery accounted for Wes Durston, again pouched by Mitchell, before David Wainwright was run-out by Ross Whiteley to make it 130-7.
From then on, it was a procession as Saeed deceived Madsen for a well-made 56 to win an lbw decision.
Shantry picked up late reward with the last two wickets as Worcestershire wrapped up victory.