STEVE Rhodes was delighted to see all the hard work his Worcestershire players have put in to their fielding practice pay dividends in the seven-wicket CB40 victory at Essex.

The display in the field as a whole was razor-sharp with the highlight being skipper Daryl Mitchell’s direct hit to pick up the prized wicket of England star Alastair Cook.

Director of cricket Rhodes said: “I was really pleased with our fielding because that is an area we’ve worked very hard on.

“Sometimes you don’t get your reward for that, but I thought we attacked the ball well from the deep and there were no twos given at all, which was very special.

“We have to keep that up now and make sure it is a part of our one-day game that remains high because, if we can field well, that should help us to play reasonably good cricket.”

He added: “It has been a tough month so to go down to Essex and beat them in their own backyard was delightful.

“I was really pleased with the way we played — we executed our plans well with the ball and in the field and then the opening partnership between Vikram (Solanki) and Moeen (Ali) was excellent.

“It was a shame for Moeen as he didn’t get what would have been a well-deserved hundred, but it was a special day for him with the way he bowled, fielded and, of course, batted.

“Cook and (Mark) Pettini played solidly, but we didn’t bowl that badly and something was waiting to happen.

“Thankfully, it went our way when a direct hit from Daryl at mid-wicket got rid of Cooky, who could well have got a big score.

“That meant we could get into their batters and our spinners stifled them — that was a crucial period because they weren’t scoring at the five or six-runs-per-over they had been.

“That run-chase was never going to be easy, though, as the wicket was slow and taking turn, so we needed a good start against the new ball and Moeen and Vikram did that really well.”