WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids' head coach Alex Gidman has praised fast bowler Josh Tongue for his vital late spell during the dramatic draw in the opening Vitality Blast fixture with Notts Outlaws on Wednesday. 

Tongue was handed the ball by captain Moeen Ali in the 18th and final over of Outlaws' innings, despite conceding 23 runs in his opening over during the powerplay.

He responded superbly by conceding just three runs in the 18th over and three more plus a leg bye in the final over in which two run outs also took place as the Rapids secured a valuable point.

Gidman believes bowling in such circumstances will benefit Tongue hugely. 

He said: “As a coach, we want to try and win games whilst giving exposure to players in pressure situations.

“For Josh to go through that, albeit a couple of overs of high-pressure cricket, he would have learnt more than any other game he has played – or all the games he has played put together.

“Huge benefits from that scenario, and I thought he handled the situation really, really well.”

The importance of spin in T20 cricket was again highlighted with Moeen Ali and new overseas signing Ish Sodhi putting in impressive performances.

They were also well supported by Brett D’Oliveira and as a trio, they returned combined figures of 3-52 from 10 overs.

Gidman was delighted with the way Sodhi settled in after not arriving at New Road until Sunday evening and having had little time to practice.

He said: “Spin is still a massive part of the game. As both teams saw on Wednesday, from a batting perspective, facing spin was hard, and it is challenging still in this format of the game.

“It is a significant threat, and it is great to have two world-class spinners in our team and with Brett available as well, who we know is hugely talented.

“Ish is a top man, and he and Ben (Dwarshuis) are outstanding blokes and have slotted into the group really well. Credit to Ish to slot in so quickly and perform so well. He was outstanding.

“Ish got off a plane on Sunday and, having not been allowed out of his house for a couple of days, only had a bowl for half an hour on Wednesday afternoon before the game.”

The Rapids will look to kick on from their superb fightback against the Outlaws when they take on the Steelbacks in another game televised by Sky Sports.

The Rapids will select from the 11 in action on Wednesday evening, plus Tom Fell, Daryl Mitchell and Dillon Pennington.