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Rawlins fêted for being quick off the mark

Delray Rawlins's “controlled aggression” at the crease in the Vitality Blast Twenty20 has not only made the Bermudian a crowd favourite, but has also catapulted him among the world's elite.

The Sussex Sharks all-rounder's penchant for going for the big shots early has given him the second-highest strike rate after the first five balls of an innings of any batsmen worldwide this year.

Rawlins's strike rate after facing the first handful of balls stands at 196.29, second only to Ed Pollock, the Birmingham pinch-hitting opening batsman.

“When I bat, if I see a bowler I like, I try and take it on, and this year most of the time that's come off for me,” Rawlins told ESPNcricinfo this week.

“I just want to take as much pressure as I can off the other end. Most of the time that's been Laurie Evans, who's been outstanding for us this year, so if that's hitting early boundaries and running hard then that's my role.”

Rawlins has developed the knack of producing jaw-dropping innings at the perfect time on the big stage.

“I play my best cricket when I'm quite relaxed, controlled, that's the way I try to approach it,” he said. “The bigger the game the more your emotions can go and if I can continue to be relaxed then I can keep being successful.

“I just try and back myself and my ability. Luckily, it's come off for me so far.”

Rawlins will be back in action today at Edgbaston, where Sussex face South group winners Somerset in the second semi-final of Finals Day, with Lancashire Lightning taking on Worcestershire Rapids in the other match.

“To get this far is unbelievable, but nothing less than what we deserved,” Rawlins told The Royal Gazette. “The boys have played some exciting cricket, and are very confident going into Finals Day.”

The Sharks beat Durham Jets by five wickets in the quarter-final to advance to the final four, with Rawlins thumping a 29-ball 42 during the run chase, some of his shots drawing “oohs” and “aahs” from respected commentator Michael Atherton.

If you wish to watch Delray Rawlins in action against Somerset in the Vitality Blast Twenty20 semi-final tune in from 10.30 this morning on Sky Sports Cricket. The final will start at 2.45pm

No hanging around: Delray Rawlins is in stellar company worldwide with the second-highest strike rate for the first five balls faced (Graphic courtesy of ESPNcricinfo)

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Published September 15, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm)

Rawlins fêted for being quick off the mark

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