Worcestershire: Youthful core behind 'outstanding' T20 fielding

Daryl Mitchell
Mitchell is hoping to steer Worcestershire to a home quarter-final in the T20 Blast for the first time

Worcestershire's bid for a place in the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast has been helped by their youthful zest in the field, says captain Daryl Mitchell.

With a core of players 25 years old or under, Mitchell has guided the team to the brink of the last eight with three games left.

"Our fielding's been absolutely outstanding this year," Mitchell told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"A young side helps that and it's certainly been worth 10 to 15 runs."

Despite their five-wicket defeat to defending T20 champions Birmingham Bears on Friday, Worcestershire's position in the North Group is still a healthy one.

They are currently in second place on 14 points after winning seven of their 11 games so far.

Worcestershire's youthful core
Over half of Worcestershire's regular T20 side is 25 or under. The average age of the side that lost to Birmingham Bears was 23
They are Richard Oliver (25), Joe Leach (24), Brett D'Oliveira (23), Ben Cox (23), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (20) and Ed Barnard (19)
Of the others, only Mitchell (31) and Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal (37) are over 30.

"We've played some really good cricket, it's been a thoroughly enjoyable tournament. We've won a couple of nail-biters and lost a few close ones as well," Mitchell added.

"We've batted well as a group, we've put decent totals on the board and bowled well."

Victory over Yorkshire on Tuesday, together with defeat for Nottinghamshire at Lancashire 24 hours later, would all but seal Worcestershire's place in the quarter-finals.

Wins at Headingley and away to Derbyshire in their penultimate game on Friday would guarantee a last-eight spot and a potential home tie in the knock-out stage.

"We need to make sure we're in the top four and then after that strive for that home quarter-final, which is something the club's never had and would mean a lot financially and to the fans," Mitchell said.

Worcestershire lost in the quarter-finals last year against Surrey and, along with Derbyshire, are the only team never to have reached T20 Finals Day.