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Royals aim to banish blues

Worcestershire Royals director of cricket Steve Rhodes insists his team cannot afford to look beyond Tuesday evening's Twenty20 Cup quarter-final against Gloucestershire Gladiators.

The two sides meet in Bristol for a place at the competition's semi-final and final day at Edgbaston on Saturday, August 4, but Rhodes has stressed to his players the importance of staying focused on the battle with the Gladiators.

He said: "It's very easy to get carried away about finals. If you have got your eye on the final you have not got your eye on the ball.

advertisement"We have just got to focus on the game and still enjoy ourselves because that's what the Twenty20 spirit is all about.

"When we beat Somerset, which was a big effort, and Warwickshire, which was an even bigger effort, we did the basics well but we enjoyed ourselves."

The County will be hoping to make it third time lucky against Gloucestershire having already lost twice to the Bristol side in the competition's Mid/West/Wales Division.

Gloucestershire romped to a nine-wicket win on June 25 and won the return match, staged at Kidderminster's Chester Road ground because of the floods, by 61 runs.

The Royals defeated Northamptonshire by five runs, Somerset by three wickets and Warwickshire by 13 runs to qualify for the last eight as one of the best third-placed teams.

But three matches also fell foul of the rain, currently blighting the County's campaign, and Rhodes is hoping that isn't a factor tonight.

"The weather is important," he said. "I think both teams are looking forward to a dry day to get the game played."

The former wicketkeeper has also handed recalls to four players following Saturday's seven-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka A' at Royal Grammar School, Worcester.

Graeme Hick, Phil Jaques, Kabir Ali and Doug Bollinger all return to the team.

Rhodes said: "Saturday was an experimental game in that we rested key players.

"It was a good opportunity for the other guys. Some did well and some not so well. It was a good work-out and the Sri Lankans were a good team with Test experience.

"They were a side that came here to win and they had some very good players.

"It was an opportunity to give some of the younger players a chance."

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