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County look to make history
TODAY is Worcestershire’s date with Twenty20 destiny — an opportunity for the players to secure themselves a place in the club’s history.
Never before has the New Road outfit reached the 20-over competition’s showpiece finals day and now just Yorkshire stand between them and a place in the final four at Glamorgan’s Swalec Stadium on August 25.
Although winning at Headingley in today’s quarter-final of the Friends Life t20 (4.15pm) is no way a given, County director of cricket Steve Rhodes is full of belief his class of 2012 can deliver.
The Yorkshire-born former England wicketkeeper said: “It is really important our supporters realise that, although this is a massive game for us, this side has got us through to where we are now.
“I hear a lot of people wishing we’d go for a second overseas player or we’d get someone else in from outside, but I don’t think that is fair.
“Reaching the quarters is a major achievement for us, but I still think we can go further. “In this knock-out stage, there’s no point setting goals — the major challenge was qualifying from the group, but we don’t want to stop now.
“The message is that if we can play a half-decent game, then I’m pretty sure we will put a lot of pressure on Yorkshire. While it is a big game, we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves and I think it’s really good to go into today’s game as underdogs.”
Rhodes also revealed he has no concerns about throwing 18-year-old all-rounder Aneesh Kapil in at the deep end as cover for broken finger victim Alexei Kervezee.
The Royals chief added: “Aneesh carried the drinks as 12th man for a lot of the games, but now he has an opportunity to shine. He is a talented England Under 19 international and he’ll play today. I feel confident to give him a go.
“If we had got another overseas in, Aneesh would have been unlikely to play. Why not give these lads the chance to do it?”
Rhodes continued: “Yorkshire had a very good qualifying tournament, they topped their group and played some really good cricket. “We had a good start, dropped off a little bit towards the end but, if we can play our ‘A’ game, we can compete with any of these teams.”