5:00pm Thursday 29th May 2014
By Steve Carley
WORCESTERSHIRE must have been cursing their luck when presented with the fixture list for this season’s NatWest T20 Blast.
Having relaunched as the Rapids in the new-look limited-over competition, the New Road side were hoping for a change of fortune in the shorter format.
One can only imagine their frustration when presented with three away fixtures to start their 2014 campaign.
As if it wasn’t bad enough playing on the road three times in a week, facing Durham, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire on their own patch can’t have filled them with much joy.
The Rapids are already in a North Group heavily populated by LV= County Championship Division One sides. There was the very real prospect of having to play catch-up before a ball had been bowled in anger at New Road.
But that all changed with last Friday’s surprise victory against Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Trent Bridge.
Those connected with the Rapids will say otherwise but, to most, Worcestershire winning at such a fortress was not expected.
While they won at Trent Bridge in the Yorkshire Bank 40 last season, there was nothing but pride riding on the outcome.
That wasn’t the case last Friday, which hopefully makes Worcestershire’s victory even more significant.
It means they welcome Northamptonshire Steelbacks to New Road tomorrow in a decent position in the table.
If you’d offered them two points out of six, I expect Steve Rhodes’ side would have taken it.
The Rapids’ T20 campaign this term is also underpinned by a fine start in the four-day arena, which has marked them out as early promotion contenders in LV= County Championship Division Two.
There seems to be more of a resilience to the team this time around, although it is amazing what a few good results can do for team morale.
Alongside skipper Daryl Mitchell (pictured above) and Saeed Ajmal, a host of players have come to the fore with wickets for Jack Shantry, Charlie Morris and Joe Leach and runs for Alexei Kervezee, Richard Oliver and Ben Cox.
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