BOSS Alex Gidman feels holders Worcestershire Rapids have produced an “outstanding effort” in the 2019 Vitality Blast so far.

Gidman believes Rapids have “improved” as a T20 team this summer in overcoming several challenging situations and that the best is still to come.

Injuries to Brett D’Oliveira, Ben Twohig and George Rhodes left the County short of a spin option in the short format where slow bowlers often thrive until Moeen Ali recently returned after England duty.

Having to play three red-ball matches — two County Championship and the three-day tour game with Australia — has also meant Rapids dipping in and out of the Blast and making it difficult to obtain any rhythm and continuity in T20 cricket.

But they are still in the mix to retain their title and Derbyshire Falcons' surprise 11-run victory over leaders Lancashire Lightning on Monday has made the equation simple for skipper Moeen and his team-mates.

One victory will ensure qualification for the quarter-finals and two will guarantee a top-two spot alongside Lightning and a financially-rewarding home tie.

Rapids, who are fourth in the North Group, entertain third-placed Notts Outlaws on Wednesday (4pm) and visit Northamptonshire Steelbacks in sixth on Friday.

First-team coach Gidman said: “I haven’t really looked at the fixtures and potential results.

"We will just focus on what we need to do to try to get a little bit better (than Sunday against Lancashire) for Wednesday and hopefully give those guys a good game and see where it takes us.

“We are a confident bunch and one of the great strengths about this group is we are always honest about what we can try to do better.

“Sometimes it is not always possible, we don’t always quite get it right, but I know the lads will be disappointed but really eager to put things right and come back with a really strong performance today.

“From the club’s point of view with the difficulty we’ve had this season with the weather (floods) and what have you, it will be great to get a home quarter-final.

“From my point of view, it’s about trying to win as many games as we can for Worcestershire and trying to defend our title — give it as good a shot as we possibly can.

“I actually think we’ve improved this year when you consider the injuries, the fact we’ve had three red-ball games in between T20 games, three different captains and two games without an out-and-out spinner in what has been traditionally a format that suited spin.

“As a result I think it has been an outstanding effort to get this far. I believe the best is still to come from this team in this competition and hopefully we are in good stead to finish the competition strongly.”

Daryl Mitchell is the most economical Blast bowler in the country of anyone who has delivered 10 or more overs this season.

He has conceded just 5.48 runs per over from his 27.

The 35-year-old has taken pace off the ball in the middle overs at a time when Rapids were without their spin trio through injury.

Captain Moeen is now back to fill that role but Mitchell has still been a valuable contributor and conceded only 26 runs in four overs at the weekend when Lightning amassed 218.

He is also only three victims away from moving level on 92 with Jack Shantry who is Rapids' leading T20 wicket-taker.