BIG-HITTING Rapids all-rounder Ross Whiteley is aiming to make a sizeable impact in the latter stages of the Vitality Blast after demonstrating his fearsome power with the bat as the New Road outfit secured a place in the knockout stages.
The 30-year-old brought up his 100th T20 six for the Rapids in crashing 89 off just 40 balls despite losing to North group winners Lancashire Lightning.
It was a return to his very best form for Whiteley and he will be striving to continue in the same vein for the remainder of the tournament as the Rapids gear up for the quarter-final with the Sussex Sharks at Hove on Friday (September 6) in a repeat of last year’s final which saw the Rapids win the trophy at Edgbaston.
“My form has not been how I would have liked it for the start of the tournament but hopefully now, with the crunch games coming up, I can be out there and putting match-winning performances in,” he said.
“It’s been very disappointing. I’ve probably not had a tournament like this for a long time, where I’ve been lean on runs.
“But, where I bat in the order, it’s about match-winning partnerships or innings and that can be just six off one ball or 80 off 30.
“It’s tough. It’s not gone my way but hopefully I’ve got some momentum for those crucial last couple of games and can help get us into a qualification spot.”
Whiteley finished two runs short of his personal best Blast score for the Rapids of 91 off 35 balls against Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley four years ago when he smashed 11 sixes. There was even a chance going into the final over against the Lightning that a couple of big blows could have taken him to a century but that was not on his mind.
He said: “To be honest, I didn’t really know what score I was on. It is irrelevant whether I get a 100 or not. It’s not about that. It’s about the team.”
The Rapids went down by seven wickets to Northamptonshire Steelbacks in their final North Group match at Wantage Road to finish fourth, and now visit the Sharks who topped the South section on Friday (7pm).
Rapids ended with six wins, five defeats and three wash-outs from their 14 group fixtures and a total of 15 points, one less than the Outlaws and Derbyshire Falcons.
Victory on Friday will see the Rapids reach Finals Day at Edgbaston on September 21.