Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Ajmal And Oliver Help Rapids Overcome The Jets And Cement Second Spot

Ajmal And Oliver Help Rapids Overcome The Jets And Cement Second Spot

Worcestershire Rapids took another step towards the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast as they overcame Durham Jets by five wickets at New Road.

The Rapids have now won seven of their opening 10 games and cemented second spot in the North Group after triumphing with one over to spare.

Next on the agenda are current leaders Birmingham Bears in a sold out clash at New Road on Friday.

No-one will take anything for granted at New Road in the quest for a last eight spot, but this was another convincing performance from the Rapids.

They are three points clear of third placed Northamptonshire Steelbacks and four ahead of Lancashire Lightning, the Jets and Leicestershire Foxes.

An excellent all-round bowling and fielding display restricted Durham to 127-9 in their 20 overs after Rapids skipper Daryl Mitchell put them into bat.

Saeed Ajmal returned the superb figures of 3-13 from his four overs but all of the attack ensured Durham could not obtain any momentum.

Then Richard Oliver's unbeaten 70 from 57 balls with 11 fours was the bedrock of the Rapids reply.

It completed a successful week in terms of runs in all competitions for Oliver after his 99 in the LV = County Championship against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and 31 in the T20 Blast match between the two sides.

Jack Shantry set the tone which was continued for the remainder of the Durham innings by conceding only a single in the opening over.

It was Joe Leach who made the first breakthrough when Jets skipper Mark Stoneman (12) was caught at mid wicket by Mitchell.

Then a brilliant throw from Brett D'Oliveira at backward point accounted for Calum MacLeod (17) who was run out by a direct hit in Ed Barnard's opening over.

Durham were 62-2 at the half-way point but Ajmal's return to the attack was the signal for wickets to start tumbling with a burst of three in five balls.

Paul Collingwood (16) and John Hastings (0) were both caught by Oliver at long on and in between Phil Mustard (35) went for a sweep and was puched by Barnard at short fine leg.

The Rapids were now in the ascendancy with Gordon Muchall (17) run out by Mitchell's throw from cover and Usman Arshad (0) bowled by Shantry.

Two wickets fell on 127 in the final over with Ryan Pringle (23) run out by Colin Munro's throw from the cover boundary going for a second run and Keaton Jennings (0) yorked by Joe Leach.

When the Rapids went into bat, it was under threatening skies and only eight miles away Malvern had been engulfed in a hailstorm.

But, despite flashes of lightning over the Cathedral, the rain stayed away and Oliver picked up four boundaries in Hastings second over to get the Rapids innings moving.

Mitchell (2) and Friday's batting hero Tom Kohler-Cadmore (11) were bowled by Chris Rushworth and Collingwood respectively. Munro (1) tried to reverse sweep Pringle and was caught by Collingwood at backward point.

But Oliver and D'Oliveira added 51 in six overs for the fourth wicket before the latter was bowled by Rushworth for 13.

Oliver brought up his 50 off 39 balls with a four over extra cover off Scott Borthwick – his 10th boundary.

Ross Whiteley (12) hit one massive six off Pringle before he was bowled by Borthwick but Oliver and Ben Cox, with successive fours off Hastings, saw the Rapids to the finishing line.