WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids director of cricket Steve Rhodes admitted that Jason Roy’s explosive half-century “was the difference between the two teams” as Surrey Lions edged to a three-wicket win in the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final at the Kia Oval.
Rhodes felt that the Rapids were capable of defending a 141-9 total on a sluggish pitch after his side had been put into bat.
But Roy raced to his 50 off just 20 balls and, although Worcestershire fought back after his dismissal, the Lions were able to reach their target comfortably.
Rhodes said: “I think it wasn’t a bad score, we could win with that total, but if you look back at the whole day, most batters struggled to score on that Oval wicket apart from Jason Roy.
“You take away his 50 off 20-odd balls on a 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 called up by the England Lions.
“His innings was the difference between the two teams.”
Rhodes 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.
He said: “It was always going to be tough but, as you saw, we were desperate to make life as difficult as possible.
"Just one more wicket and we’d have been through to Jade Dernbach and Matt Dunn and a real opportunity to wrap things up.
“We tried hard, we couldn’t fault the Worcestershire lads for effort, they’ve tried hard the whole campaign and I’m proud of what they’ve done.
“Sadly it just wasn’t quite good enough because of that innings from Roy. That innings has changed the game.”
The Rapids struggled to build any momentum in their innings in the conditions.
Rhodes said: “We were quite happy where we were at the end of the powerplay in many ways on a difficult wicket.
“But we couldn’t accelerate in any way and we did lose wickets in the middle period. That makes life difficult.
“Richard Oliver is one of the sweetest strikers of a ball but he struggled to hit the ball on that wicket and manfully tried to bat through the innings for us.
“But it was difficult going and we found the seamers hard work.
“Similarly, when we bowled, I thought Joe Leach and Jack Shantry bowled well and Mitchell McClenaghan has obviously gone for a few runs but he was very whole-hearted and tried hard, as did all the other bowlers.
“If we had got rid of Roy early, then we would have had a real chance of progressing.”