T20 Blast bite-size preview: Worcestershire Rapids

England

Last year, as the Royals, they did not impress and failed to reach the knock-out stages, finishing fifth out of six teams in the Midlands/Wales/West division, losing six games out of 10.

<b>Brief Overview:</b> The Rapids have been the talk of the circuit ahead of the tournament, from their name change (are there rapids in Worcestershire?) to the all-encompassing love everyone has for batting all-rounder Moeen Ali, 'The beard that's feared'.

Last year, as the Royals, they did not impress and failed to reach the knock-out stages, finishing fifth out of six teams in the Midlands/Wales/West division, losing six games out of 10.

<b>Venue:</b> New Road in Worcester is the county's main ground, though Kiddiminster is used on occasion, though not for this tournament. Here's hoping the rain stays away on the weekends.

<b>Batsman To Watch:</b> England newby Moeen Ali, and fan favourite amongst the facial hair obsessives, is an all-rounder these days, with his spin bowling a big part of the reason for his national call-up. But his batting sees him able to slot in from one to seven, and he's been in good nick in the Championship so far this season.

<b>Bowler To Watch:</b>

Fan favourite Jack Shantry is the local bowler to keep an eye on, with his reliable medium pace making him tricky to get away. He took the most wickets for the club in last year's contest, at an average just over 25.

<b>Overseas Signings:</b> Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal is gracing the Rapids with his presence for part of the tournament, and he will be a valuable asset as the Rapids have shored up their bowling stocks. The world's premier spinner is also joined by New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan, the Black Caps' T20 player of the year, while Kiwi batsman Colin Munro is also on the books.

<b>Know Your Mascot:</b> The Rapids' new mascot, Nile the Crocodile, was been in the media the most in the build-up. How on earth he arrived in the wilds of England from the banks of an African river is beyond us, but he seems a snappy dresser and has a toothy grin ready for the kids.

<b>Cricket365's Prediction:</b> Ninth in North Division.

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