WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids director of cricket Steve Rhodes has named a 13-strong squad for tonight’s crucial NatWest T20 Blast encounter with Derbyshire Falcons (5.30pm).
New Zealand paceman Mitchell McCleneghan is poised to make his home debut against the Falcons after impressing with his pace and aggression during the LV= County Championship win over Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
The Rapids will go into the game knowing that victory, or even a tie, will ensure their place in the quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons.
They still also have a chance of securing a home tie if they overcome the Falcons and Nottinghamshire Outlaws lose their away match against Yorkshire Vikings with run-rate then the deciding factor.
Rhodes has selected the 11 players who took the field during last Friday’s impressive away win over holders Northamptonshire Steelbacks, plus all-rounder Gareth Andrew and paceman Chris Russell.
The duo both featured for the Seconds this week in the Second Eleven Championship match with MCC Young Cricketers at Kidderminster.
Meanwhile, Colin Munro has joined skipper Daryl Mitchell in topping the 300-run mark for Worcestershire Rapids ahead of tonight’s final NatWest T20 Blast North Group match.
The New Zealander top-scored with 49 in the impressive win over the Steelbacks to take his run tally to 311 during the 2014 campaign at an average of 31.10.
Munro is also in the top 10 of the leading six-hitters in the competition with 14 to date for the Rapids.
Rhodes has praised the fearless approach of Munro, who hit his top T20 Blast score of 65 in the first meeting with the Falcons at Derby.
He said: “I think Colin is a marvellous cricketer, not just in Twenty20.
“He plays with no fear and that is difficult to do, play with no fear.
“It takes a very brave person to not let the pressures of the game situation or the opposition get to you.
“The way he takes it to the opposition certainly suits Twenty20 competition. He is a really busy and quality cricketer.
“He hits the ball as clean as any of our batters. I know that because we’ve done range hitting where he has been incredible.
Rhodes added: “He’s got other dimensions to his game now. He is very destructive against spin and definitely an international player of the future.”
Worcestershire (from): Mitchell, Oliver, Kohler-Cadmore, Munro, Whiteley, Cox, Leach, D’Oliveira, Choudhry, Shantry, McClenaghan, Andrew, Russell.