STEVE Rhodes said he felt Jason Roy’s explosive half century for Surrey was the difference as Worcestershire Rapids suffered a three-wicket defeat in the Natwest T20 Blast quarter-final at The Oval.
With the Rapids defending a total of 141-9, Roy raced to his fifty off just 20 balls, and despite a late collapse from the hosts which saw them lose five wickets for 29 runs Robin Peterson saw them over the line with an unbeaten 24.
Rhodes, Worcestershire’s director of cricket, said he thought his side could defend their total on a sluggish pitch but Roy took the game away from them quickly.
“I think it wasn’t a bad score, we could win with that score, but if you look at the whole day, most batters have struggled to score on that wicket apart from Jason Roy,” he said.
“You take away his 50 off 20 odd balls on wicket that was difficult to score on, it was a major match-winning innings for Surrey.
“A couple of nicks from him early on went for four but he did hit some great shots and that’s the reason he has been picked by England Lions.
“His innings was the difference between the two teams.”
After being asked to bat by Surrey, Worcestershire struggled to get any momentum in their innings after the early run out of skipper Daryl Mitchell for 10.
Only Richard Oliver (34) and Joe Leach (20) made any real impact with the bat, as seven batsmen were clean bowled.
Roy’s blitz then set a fine platform for the home side before a flurry of wickets gave the visitors a glimmer of hope.
But South African Peterson hit three fours and a six in his 12 ball innings to make sure of the win.
Rhodes said he was pleased with the way his side stuck to their guns in the field and gave the Lions a fright before they reached a sixth finals day in 12 years.
“It was always going to be tough but, as you saw, we were desperate to make life as difficult as possible and, just one more wicket, and we’d have been through to Jade Dernbach and Matt Dunn, a real end to wrap things up with,” he added.
“We tried hard, we couldn’t fault the lads for effort, they’ve tried hard the whole campaign and I’m proud of what they’ve done.
“Sadly today it just wasn’t quite good enough because of that innings from Roy. That innings has changed the game.”