RAPIDS head coach Kevin Sharp has described Friday night’s showdown with local rivals Birmingham Bears as ‘the sort of game you play cricket for’ as his side bid to secure a home quarter-final in the Vitality Blast.
The Rapids have already come out on top against the Bears this season in a make-or-break 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup North Group match at the same venue which sealed them a home semi-final and eliminated their opponents.
Now the stakes are similar in the T20 competition, with the Rapids again in contention for a home knockout tie in the quarter-finals and the Bears, who entertain Lancashire Lightning tonight (Wednesday), hoping to seal a top-four spot.
Sharp’s men trail leaders Durham Jets by one point and are level with Lancashire Lightning in the race for the top two spots which would ensure a home draw in the quarter-finals to be played at the end of next week.
The Bears are on the prowl themselves as victory tonight against the Lightning and on Friday could see them sneak into the last eight themselves.
Sharp said he was relishing the clash of the old rivals.
“These sort of games are what you play cricket for. You play cricket for the big nights and the local rivalries,” said Sharp.
“I was part of plenty of Yorkshire-Lancashire fixtures and I know what these fixtures are like down here. They equal that. Everyone looks forward to the Bears games. There is a good crowd, a good atmosphere.
“But the bottom line is it’s always a big night there and, where we are in the league, won’t make any difference.
“We won’t be thinking of that. We will just go out and do our best to beat them.
“We want a home quarter-final and, if we could achieve that after a home semi-final in the One-Day Cup, it would represent a magnificent effort from the boys.”
The Worcestershire players return to training today after being given a couple of days off to recharge their batteries after playing three games in the space of 72 hours.
Friday’s game will be followed by a trip to Scarborough for a four-day Championship clash with Yorkshire before any potential quarter-final.
“We’ve won the 50 over and the first T20 against the Bears but you just can’t take anything for granted. They may have all to play for as well in terms of qualifying for the knockout stages.”
“We will prepare as normal and hopefully win and get over the line at Edgbaston and hopefully the other results will go our way.”