By Rich Jones
GLAMORGAN captain Jacques Rudolph hailed a “clinical performance” from his side to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Natwest T20 Blast.
Rudolph’s side cruised to an impressive seven-wicket win over Somerset in front of a big crowd at The SSE SWALEC in Cardiff on Friday night.
They bounced back from successive defeats in the competition to reach the last eight for the first time since 2014.
Rudolph was full of praise for his side after they capped off a perfect few days having claimed their first County Championship win of the season against Derbyshire at Colwyn Bay earlier in the week.
However, he insists they must manage their expectations and not get too far ahead of themselves heading into a crucial spell.
“Obviously it’s a massive thing for us (to reach the quarter-finals),” said Rudolph. “I think it was good for us tonight to get back to the way we’ve been playing as a whole during this campaign.
“The last two games we played haven’t been that special, but I thought it was a clinical performance.
“The thing that stands out for me this week is the character shown and the spirit shown by the guys in our team.
“We fielded for a long time at Colwyn Bay, two days to be exact, maybe a little bit more, and the fact that we managed to get out of that game with a win was exceptional.
“The one thing we’ve done well this season is we’ve really just focused on how we go about our business, and I think this performance was testament to that.
“The bowlers were clinical, our batters were precise in the way we went about the run chase, so now let’s get to Finals Day.
“The way we’ve been playing this campaign, the fact we’re one game away from leading this group as well, obviously the expectations are quite high.
“It’s up to me as a captain or Crofty (Robert Croft) as a coach to manage that expectation, and we had a chat last week and basically just said we can’t get too far ahead in the way we think about going about things.”
A superb bowling effort after winning the toss saw Glamorgan bowl Somerset out for just 152.
There were numerous positives with the ball as Colin Ingram, who is not known for his bowling prowess, came into the attack to take a game-changing 3-20.
Rudolph believes his South African compatriot proved he can be a front-line spinner in limited overs cricket moving forward.
He was also delighted to see talismanic paceman Shaun Tait put in his best performance since returning to the county just a few weeks ago.
He commented: “I think they went for 60 runs in their last 10 overs, and it was really good to see Colin Ingram, coming into the game as our leading spinner.
“I don’t see Colin as a part time spinner. Statistically, he’s got a very good record, and I must say from a captaincy point of view when I throw him the ball I’ve always got a good feeling that he can get us wickets, and again tonight he’s got 3-20.
“He’s been very good for us then he saw it off with the bat, so I’m very happy as a captain. He’ll assume that role, and that’ll obviously give us a better balance in our team selection as well.
“I think sometimes when you go at nine or ten runs an over at the start, it’s very easy to panic.
“Because of the luxury of our bowling line-up, you can just pick and choose who you want to bowl, they’ll keep on striking for you and we eventually bowled them out which I think is a feather in our caps.
“I think you have to accept that because Taity (Shaun Tait) bowls quick he’s going to go for some runs because the balls just fly off the bat sometimes.
“On the flip side he’s got X Factor, he gets us wickets. In the Middlesex game a few weeks ago he got us two wickets in the first over.
“It’s nice to have players of that calibre in our dressing room, then Michael Hogan, Graham Wagg and Timm van der Gugten have been very good for us this season, so I’m very happy with where we are.”
Rudolph also reserved special praise for talented youngster Aneurin Donald, who capped off a remarkable week with 44* to see Glamorgan over the line.
“I was very pleased with the way he (Donald) played, for me it was a very mature innings,” he added.
“He still played his calculated, high-risk shots when he didn’t hit a six or a four he got a one, and I think the more innings he can play like that the deeper we’ll end up batting which will eventually put us in better batting positions.”