Brett D’Oliveira celebrated his 100th T20 game for Worcestershire Rapids with another match-winning knock as they overcame Leicestershire Foxes by seven wickets in the Vitality Blast at New Road.
The all-rounder achieved a new career-best score for the second successive game as he surpassed his 67 against Durham by making an excellent 69.
D’Oliveira and Riki Wessels laid the foundations for a second win in 48 hours with a superb opening stand of 103 in 12.2 overs as the Rapids climbed back into the top four after triumphing with five balls to spare.
It set a new record for the highest stand by Worcestershire against the Foxes in T20 cricket for any wicket.
The Rapids bowlers set up the victory with a fine bowling performance in which the new ball attack of Ben Dwarshuis and Dillon Pennington particularly excelled, as the Foxes were restricted 156-7 after being put in to bat.
Dwarshuis again showed the qualities that made him the Sydney Sixers leading wicket-taker in their Big Bash League triumph, and Pennington continued his impressive run of form.
Worcestershire’s main club sponsor, Morgan Motor Company, generously handed over the shirt sponsorship for this afternoon’s Vitality Blast game to Worcestershire’s Official Charity, St. Richard’s Hospice.
The St. Richard’s Hospice logo was displayed across the shirts, which are being auctioned off to raise additional money to support the hospice’s work in the local community. Shirts can be bid for by visiting wccc.co.uk/auction.
The Foxes were put in to bat and scored 34 from the opening four overs before Dillon struck as Scott Steel (13) edged a delivery which bounced on him through to keeper and captain Ben Cox.
Pennington removed the other opener in Josh Inglis (21) with the fifth ball of the same over when he was bowled after attempting an extravagant shot over mid-wicket.
It became 38-3 in the next over – and three wickets in nine balls – when Leicestershire captain Colin Ackermann (0) made room and was also bowled after going for another big hit.
Pennington established a good rhythm and was allowed to complete his spell by the ninth over with excellent figures of 4-0-20-2 – including 2-7 from his last three overs.
The wickets continued to tumble after spinner Ish Sodhi came into the attack as Aaron Lilley (6) holed out to Riki Wessels at long-on, and then Daryl Mitchell struck as Rishi Patel (14) picked out Ross Whiteley at deep mid-wicket.
Louis Kimber (1) survived a caught and bowled off Ed Barnard when on one.
Kimber and Hill put on 60 in 5.5 overs, with the latter hitting three sixes in the space of four balls.
Dwarshuis returned to have Kimber (23) caught at deep mid-wicket by Whiteley.
Hill went onto to complete a 28 balls half-century with four sixes and two fours before he hit a Dwarshuis delivery straight to Daryl Mitchell at cover.
Dwarshuis again excelled with figures of 4-0-23-2, and Sodhi (3-0-16-1) and Ed Barnard (2-0-11-0) also gave little away.
Rapids openers D’Oliveira and Wessels gave their side a solid start.
They negotiated an opening four overs of spin from Callum Parkinson and Ackermann and the entire powerplay without being parted in scoring 42 to lay the foundations for their side.
D’Oliveira timed the ball sweetly and he completed his second successive half century in the competition off 40 balls with six boundaries.
Wessels also scored freely and a straight six by Wessels off Gavin Griffiths brought up the century stand in 11.4 overs.
The stand was worth 106 when Wessels, after making 46 from 34 overs, was caught at deep mid wicket off Parkinson.
Jake Libby (11) was caught off a top edge at third man against Naveen ul Haq and D’Oliveira’s excellent knock ended when pulled Gavin Griffiths to deep mid wicket but Cox and Ross Whiteley saw the Rapids over the finishing line.