DARYL Mitchell is expecting Worcestershire Rapids to make another big impression in the 2020 Vitality Blast after their success of the past two summers.

The Rapids won the competition in 2018 and were runners-up 12 months ago, losing off the last ball of the final to Essex Eagles after coming so close to becoming the first side to retain the title.

They will be without Moeen Ali and Pat Brown while part of England’s white ball bubble but have signed New Zealand opener Hamish Rutherford and have a new captain - during Moeen’s absence - in Ed Barnard.

Mitchell, whose medium pacers are as important in the Blast as his batting, said: “We’ve had two good years, winning it in 2018 and coming very close last year. We expect to put in a good performance throughout the T20 competition.

“The first task is to get out of the group and it’s anyone’s game in the knockout, just perform well and get a bit of momentum in that period. Once you get into the quarter-finals, it’s just about who plays best on the day.

“We’ve been pretty consistent in white-ball cricket for a number of years, 50-over as well as T20, in terms of getting out of the groups. We’ve got a pretty decent formula and if we play well then we are a match for anyone on our day.”

Rutherford enjoyed a successful first spell at Blackfinch New Road last summer, becoming only the second player to score a century on first-class and List A debut for Worcestershire.

But he is also a destructive player in T20 cricket and was part of the Otago Volts side which reached the knockout stages of the Super Smash last winter plus the final of the Ford Trophy.

Mitchell said: “We’ve seen a bit of Hamish already. We know what he can do both against us, for Derbyshire, and for us last season.

“He is a real dangerous batsman at the top of the order and hopefully he can get off to a flying start and do well for us in that competition.”

Rutherford and Mitchell were both part of the side edged out by the Eagles in the 2019 final.

Mitchell said: “I’m probably a bit more philosophical than most. It was another brilliant day. I thought we performed fantastically well.

“If we are honest, we probably never should have won the semi-final (against Nottinghamshire) and to get through like we did was an ultimate high really.

“It was bitterly disappointing to lose off the last ball like we did in the final but that’s the game. Looking back, in hindsight, it was a brilliant couple of games to be a part of and a brilliant experience for all the lads.

“It’s something to look back on with fond memories despite not quite going our way off that last delivery.”