ALAN Richardson believes Worcestershire Rapids have “a real chance” of reaching the knockout stages of the Vitality Blast as he praised the “magnificent” contribution on and off the pitch of overseas duo Ben Dwarshuis and Ish Sodhi during their North Group campaign.
The Rapids now head into a week’s break from action occupying third spot in the table after a 14-run success over Derbyshire Falcons at the Incora County Ground.
It was their fifth Blast win of the campaign as they successfully defended a challenging total of 167-5 and restricted their opponents to 153-8.
Brett D’Oliveira top-scored for the Rapids with 43, and then he, Ish Sodhi and Daryl Mitchell took the pace off the ball and tied down the Falcons batsmen after the initial powerplay.
Assistant Coach-Bowling Coach Richardson said: “It was a win we needed. We had put ourselves in a pretty good position just before this double road trip and then had a blip (against Lancashire Lightning).
“The T20 is always going to be a bit of a rollercoaster. We know that. It doesn’t really change over the 14 games. We have to keep picking ourselves up, and we put in a really good team performance.
“Because it is a small league, everyone has to keep playing each other. The league can change so quickly with one result so, to be where we are with three games to go gives us a real chance.
“The average winning score at Derby is about 171, so we knew we were a little bit light. The boys came off and felt it was a good wicket without it being an absolute belter.
“We were hoping for 170, to get as close as we could to 180 – but it is still a lot of runs to get.
“That’s what we had to keep thinking, that they still had to put together a couple of good partnerships together.
“If we held our nerve with the ball, which I think we did, and in the field, and we were always going to have a chance.
“Derby played well in the powerplay, and the intent Luis Reece showed put us under a lot of pressure.
“But as soon as the powerplay finished, we got the slow bowlers into their work.
“Ish, Daryl and Brett bowled well. We kept chipping away, and we felt if we could get them behind the rate and keep taking wickets, that would get us over the line.
“They put us under pressure, but I thought we held up brilliantly well.”
New Zealand spinner Sodhi and Australian paceman Dwarshuis have produced a string of quality performances with the ball during the past month.
Richardson said: “Ish (Sodhi) has been magnificent for us, and so has Ben (Dwarshuis). With overseas players, you look at many different things. You look at the gaps you might have in your squad.
“You can’t guarantee performances, but you are hopeful they will contribute towards those and win you games of cricket, and they have done that.
“But you also want them to buy into things, and they have certainly done that and been great and helped all the senior players and the young lads out on the pitch there.
“They’ve really invested in it, and we can’t ask for much more than that.
“You watch them; they are spending quality time with the boys and mucking in. You get two good overseas like that, and it gives you really nice chemistry about things.”