Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Cox Six Sends Rapids Top After Dramatic Win At Old Trafford

Cox Six Sends Rapids Top After Dramatic Win At Old Trafford

Ben Cox struck a massive six off the penultimate ball to earn Worcestershire Rapids a dramatic two wicket win over Lancashire Lightning in the NatWest T20 Blast clash at Emirates Old Trafford – and send them top of the North Group.

The Rapids wicket-keeper settled a topsy turvy encounter when he smashed a James Faulkner delivery over long on to finish 22 not out from 13 balls.

It was the signal for wild scenes of celebration from his team-mates and earned the Rapids their fourth win in six matches as they chased down a 164 target after the Lightning had won the toss and opted to bat.

They have moved level on eight points with Durham and Warwickshire but head the table because of a superior run rate.

Victory also enabled the Rapids to claim their first ever over Lancashire in the competition at the sixth attempt.

And it was also the perfect response from the Rapids after the two-day defeat by Warwickshire in the LV = County Championship earlier in the week at New Road.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell scored his third fifty in six T20 Blast innings this season and there were also important contributions with the bat from Moeen Ali, Colin Munro, Brett D'Oliveira and the last gasp hero Cox.

Lightning spinner and skipper Steven Croft took the new ball and Moeen Ali picked up three boundaries to long off, long on and through the covers in his opening over.

Moeen looked in good touch and struck five boundaries in his 21 out of 29 before he mistimed a pull to mid wicket off Jordan Clark in the fourth over.

Mitchell also collected three fours in an over via two straight drives and over cover in the final over of the powerplay from Faulkner.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore greeted the return of Croft with a six over long on but was then adjudged lbw to spinner Arron Lilley for 11.

The Rapids reached 73-2 at the half-way stage.

Mitchell was given a life on 37 when Ashwell Prince dropped a skier at fine leg off Tom Bailey with the total on 77.

The boundaries dried up in mid innings for a spell and Lilley bowled his first three overs for just seven runs.

Munro released the shackles with a reverse pull for six and then a four over cover in an over from Clark costing 15 runs as the 100 came up in the 14th over.

The Rapids reach 108-2 but then lost two wickets in two balls. Munro (21) was run out after attempting a second run following his reverse sweep against Lilley.

Then Mitchell, after completing a fine 50 off 38 balls with seven fours, was trapped lbw by Saqib Mahmood for 53

Ross Whiteley, after striking one massive six off Bailey, was caught for seven at long off in the same over.

The Rapids needed 40 off the final four overs and Brett D'Oliveira and Ben Cox hit 17 off the 17th over from Mahmood.

Faulkner bowled a fine 18th over which yielded only two runs off the bat plus a no ball.

D'Oliveira drilled Bailey for  six over mid wicket before being run out going for a second run for 22 off 14 balls.

Faulkner bowled the final over and Joe Leach was caught behind for nought to leave six required from four deliveries.

Ed Barnard was run out for nought at the non strker's end but then Cox delivered his massive six to settle the issue.

The Rapids made one change from the side which defeated Durham Jets with D'Oliveira replacing Richard Oliver and forming a three pronged spin attack with Saeed Ajmal and Moeen.

Leach broke through with his second delivery in the second over when Liam Livingstone (1) was caught off a top edge by Whiteley at cover with two on the board.

Jack Shantry conceded 21 runs in his second over and Karl Brown lofted Leach for a massive six over the mid wicket boundary in an over costing 18 runs.

Ajmal bowled a tight first over and in his second ended a partnership of 71 in seven overs between Ashwell Prince and Brown with the latter caught on the mid wicket boundary by Leach for 42.

It became 80-3 when Moeen, on his 28th birthday claimed the wicket of Prince (33) who top edged a sweep to Shantry at short fine leg.

Lightning were restricted to seven successive overs without a boundary before Steven Croft struck four, six, four in the space of four deliveries in Ajmal's third over.

Shantry came back into the attack and James Faulkner (23) holed out to a good low catch by Ed Barnard at long off after adding 49 in seven overs with Croft.

Ajmal claimed his second victim when Colin Munro ran in from long on to hold onto Croft's mistimed shot for 31.

Some late hitting from Alex Davies (16 not out) and Jordan Clark (15 not out) carried Lightning to a final total of 163-5.

Moeen returned the most economical figures of 1-22 from four overs while Ajmal finished with 2-31 from four.