Friday, July 9th, 2021


Brett D’Oliveira sparkled with bat and ball for Worcestershire Rapids, who moved a step closer to the Vitality Blast knockout stages with a 49 run derby triumph over Birmingham Bears at New Road.

Worcestershire totalled 174-6 after electing to bat with openers D’Oliveira (45) and Riki Wessels (35), laying the foundations before some late fireworks from captain Ben Cox with 43.

Bears skipper Will Rhodes led from the front for his side with a T20 best 4-34, and his side reached 81-2 at the halfway stage despite two early wickets for Charlie Morris.

But D’Oliveira changed the course of the game with three wickets in nine balls, and then Ish Sodhi collected three in an over as the Bears were dismissed for 125 in the 18thover.

D’Oliveira ended with 3-15 and Sodhi 4-24, and the two spinners had combined figures of 7-39 from their eight overs as the Bears were dismissed for 125 in the 18thover.

Rapids openers Riki Wessels and D’Oliveira took full toll during the six-over powerplay, which yielded 64 runs.

Wessels set the tone with a cut and sweep for four in the opening over from Jacob Bethell, and then D’Oliveira twice cut Craig Miles for boundaries before lofting Ryan Sidebottom for a straight six.

The partnership was worth 70 when Wessels, having made 35 off 25 balls with five fours, was bowled by Bears captain Will Rhodes after attempting a leg-side hit.

D’Oliveira continued to score freely and collected another six – off Rhodes over square leg.

He raced to 45 off 26 balls with two sixes and five fours before being caught at deep mid-wicket off Rhodes.

The Rapids were well placed at 92-2 at the halfway stage.

Jake Libby made 18 off 20 balls before he also fell in the deep to Sidebottom after pulling a delivery from Miles.

Cox came down the wicket to Bethell and lofted the spinner over long-off for six.

Ross Whiteley (4) was bowled, aiming a big hit against Sidebottom and then Ed Barnard (7) departed in the same fashion to give Rhodes his third wicket.

Cox again made a valuable contribution and struck his second six over square leg in the final over from Rhodes.

He had made 43 from 28 balls when he was caught at long-on with two balls remaining.

Rapids paceman Charlie Morris made an early breakthrough when Adam Hose (9) was beaten by a fine delivery and bowled.

Morris struck again in a similar fashion when Rhodes on 11 aimed a hit across the line.

Ed Pollock looked in good form for the Bears, who reached 81-2 at the halfway stage.

But then D’Oliveira entered the attack and struck twice in his first over.

Sam Hain (15) gave his first delivery the charge and was bowled, and the fifth ball accounted for Matt Lamb (1), who was stumped by Cox.

It became three wickets in nine balls for the all-rounder as Michael Burgess (6) pushed forward and was also bowled.

Pollock reached a fine half-century off 34 balls with his third six off Ish Sodhi, but the New Zealander had his revenge with the next delivery, which was top-edged to keeper Cox.

He followed it up in the next over by sending back Jacob Bethell (7), Rob Yates (3) and Jake Lintott (0) to take the Rapids to the verge of victory.

It was soon completed when Sidebottom was caught at cover off Dwarshuis. The Australian paceman finished with 1-24 and Morris 2-8 in another comprehensive victory.