Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Crowd Of 4,000 Sees Rapids Narrowly Beaten Despite Late Fireworks From Whiteley

Crowd Of 4,000 Sees Rapids Narrowly Beaten Despite Late Fireworks From Whiteley

Worcestershire Rapids went down by 11 runs in a thrilling NatWest T20 Blast clash with Notts Outlaws which ebbed and flowed in front of a packed sun-drenched crowd of nearly 4,000 at New Road.

The Rapids pushed their opponents all the way and were in contention right up until the final over before being bowled out for 158 in reply to the Outlaws 169-5.

Some typically explosive hitting from Ross Whiteley almost turned the game in the home side's favour after Moeen Ali had given the innings a flying start with his second good knock in 48 hours.

It means the Rapids have won two and lost two of their opening four matches in a North Group which is wide open and containing no weak links amongst the eight counties.

The game provided excellent entertain for the television audience in the first of two T20 Blast matches at New Road to be shown live by Sky Sports this summer.

The Outlaws were put into bat and Jack Shantry struck two blows in the opening over of the game.

Riki Wessels (5) was caught at mid off by skipper Daryl Mitchell and from the next delivery Alex Hales (1) fell to a superb catch by keeper Ben Cox in front of first slip.

Outlaws third wicket pair of Brendan Taylor and Steven Mullaney added 57 in six overs but then the spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and Moeen Ali struck in successive overs to reduce them to 64-4.

Taylor (27) was caught on the mid wicket boundary by Colin Munro off Saeed and then Mullaney (29) was on the end of a superb one handed catch at mid wicket by Mitchell from Moeen's bowling.

The innings had to be rebuilt for a second time and James Taylor (35 not out) anchored the innings while sharing partnerships of 55 in eight overs with Samit Patel (30) and 50 in 4.3 overs with Darren Sammy (35 not out).

Joe Leach, who conceded only 21 runs in his four overs, accounted for Patel who was caught at long off by Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

Sammy showed the type of explosive hitting which has become his trademark for the West Indies as he struck four sixes.

Shantry (2-54), Leach (-21), Ajmal (1-26) and Moeen (1-30) were the wicket-takers.

The Rapids got off to a good start in reply with Moeen, who hit 90 off 50 balls against the Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Friday, continuing in the same vein.

Thirty four runs came off the first three overs before Mitchell (13) was caught at short cover in Luke Fletcher's first over.

Richard Oliver (9) top edged new Outlaws signing Ben Hilfenhaus to Sam Wood at point as the Rapids reached 58-2 at the end of the powerplay.

Patel's introduction into the attack brought its rewards for the Outlaws as Moeen – 36 off 24 balls with seven fours – was adjudged lbw, Munro (4) was caught at long on and Ben Cox (3) was also given out leg before.

Wickets fell steadily but Whiteley kept the Rapids in contention after the dismissal of Kohler-Cadmore (15), Ed Barnard (10) and Joe Leach (4) left them on 117-8 in the 17th over.

The all-rounder again showed his awesome power with the bat in hitting four sixes in making 36 off 18 balls.

He was finally bowled in the penultimate over by Harry Gurney and despite a final flourish from Shantry, the Rapids were dismissed with four balls remaining.

Patel finished with 3-17 from his four overs.