Zaib hails 'phenomenal' teenage fast bowler Weatherall after final-over heroics

Skipper David Willey congratulates a relieved Raphy Weatherall after his final-over heroics against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Skipper David Willey congratulates a relieved Raphy Weatherall after his final-over heroics against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Skipper David Willey congratulates a relieved Raphy Weatherall after his final-over heroics against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Saif Zaib has labelled teenage fast bowler Raphy Weatherall a 'phenomenal' talent.

The 19-year-old hit the headlines on Friday night when he bowled a superb final over under intense pressure to secure a six-run Vitality Blast North Group win over Worcestershire Rapids.

The visitors went into the final over needing just 11 to win after Gareth Roderick had launched a stunning counter-attack to give the Rapids the chance of an unlikely victory chasing 170 to win win having been 120 for eight in the 16th over.

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Roderick, who had dished out some severe treatment to both veteran campaigners Ben Sanderson and David Willey in the two previous overs, was on strike and the Steelbacks fans inside the County Ground will have been fearing the worst.

Saif Zaib celebrates claiming thw wicket of former team-mate Tom Taylor (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Saif Zaib celebrates claiming thw wicket of former team-mate Tom Taylor (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Saif Zaib celebrates claiming thw wicket of former team-mate Tom Taylor (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

But Weatherall, who hadn't bowled a ball in the match prior to being asked to bowl the final over by skipper Willey, didn't give Roderick a sniff, conceding just four runs off the first four balls, and then bowling the South African with the fifth and then bowling a dot with his last ball to secure the win.

It was a cameo effort that almost overshadowed a superb performance from Zaib, who hit 44 not out from 21 balls and then claimed three for 20, but the all-rounder didn't mind that one little bit.

And he was quick to praise the Steelbacks' young pace bowler.

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“Raphy only bowled one over for us there at the death, and he's honestly phenomenal every time he's played for us," said Zaib.

"He only made his first-class debut this year and his T20 debut, but he's started absolutely phenomenally for us.

"It's amazing that someone that young can hold his nerve, like he did at the end. He's got a lot of grit about him. He’ll be a player to watch in the future for sure."

And he added: "The position we were in, we should have never let it get to that stage.

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"But Raphy, I mean, credit to him, he's got us over the line and I'm grateful to him.

"Scoring runs and taking wickets is all well, and good, but if you don't win the game, it doesn't mean anything.

"So yeah, it was nice to contribute in that way, and contribute to a win, which is more important.”

Zaib was awarded the man of the match award by the Sky Sports pundits for his efforts, and rightly so.

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Along with Sikandar Raza (42no) first dragged the Steelbacks from a pecarious 90 for four after 14 overs to total 169 for four - the pair putting on 79 in just 37 balls.

He then stopped the Rapids in their tracks by claiming three crucial wickets, and said: "I thought, if we can get to 160, we were saying that is a pretty good total on that wicket.

"It was quite ‘holdy’ and ‘stoppy’, but I felt like if we just had a bit of momentum on our side, especially with the spinners and experience that we have in our bowling department, we had a really good chance.

"We got nine more than that. So, it was a bonus, to be honest and obviously we needed that in the end. It was just amazing."

Zaib and the Steelbacks now have a free week before they return to Blast action on Friday with a trip to Derbyshire Falcons.

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