Thursday, August 18th, 2022


Worcestershire Rapids hero Azhar Ali is targeting a New Road double to complete the Royal London Cup programme and “bring more smiles to our supporters.”

The Pakistan star hit a brilliant century during the seven-wicket win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks at the County Ground, Northampton.

Now he is looking for the Rapids to end the 50-over campaign on a high note with the home games against Essex on Friday and Glamorgan next Tuesday.

Azhar put on 138 for the first wicket with Taylor Cornall and said: “We talked about ending on a high.

“Yes, the tournament hasn’t gone our way, but we can still do a lot for the supporters and our confidence as well.

“This win will do a lot of good for us, and hopefully, the two home games, we can win those as well and bring more smiles to our fans.

“We have been playing decent cricket in patches, but we weren’t getting over the line and key moments of the game, we were losing.

“Against Northamptonshire, it was a very good performance, especially the start with the ball. We were very up for it from the start.”

Azhar paid tribute to the contribution of Cornall as the Rapids chased down a 254 target and learned from the example of Steelbacks centurion Will Young.

He said: “We needed a partnership up top and have struggled in the tournament to get those, but Taylor was outstanding with me early on.

“He absorbed the pressure early on. There was a little bit of nip with the new ball, but we kept the run rate around five an over, and whatever we planned, it paid off.

“We got a little bit of help from the way Will Young batted in the morning. He absorbed the pressure as well. It was hard work for him as well to start with.

“But after his fifty, he just made it look so easy, and we thought if he can do that, with wickets in hand, on this wicket, you could achieve any run rate, even nine or ten.

“But the good thing was we kept getting the boundaries when we needed it and rotated the strike well enough, so the run rate never really got out of hand at any stage.”

Azhar needed a runner after suffering what appeared to be a leg injury when on 81.

He said: “What is the injury? We are not sure. It was a pull and hopefully it is not a big deal and I can recover quickly.

“We will have a look in detail and come up with a proper diagnosis.”