Sunday, June 13th, 2021


Worcestershire Rapids moved to the top of the North Group in the Vitality Blast as a superb all-rround performance overwhelmed Lancashire Lightning by eight wickets at sun-drenched New Road.
The Rapids attack was again at the top of its game in restricting Lancashire to 132-4 after they had elected to bat.
The Lightning were kept in check whether it was facing the pace of Charlie Morris and Ben Dwarshuis or the County’s trio of spinners in Moeen Ali, Ish Sodhi and Brett D’Oliveira.
Then D’Oliveira and Riki Wessels sparkled with the bat and set the Rapids on their way to victory with a stand of 79 in nine overs.
D’Oliveira completed a 36 ball half-century and was unbeaten on 61 with one six and seven fours when the Rapids completed victory in the 18th over.
The win maintained the Rapids unbeaten record, and they have taken five points from their opening three matches and have looked a formidable outfit.
The Rapids made one change from the side which triumphed away to Northamptonshire Steelbacks, with Dillon Pennington replacing fellow fast-bowler Josh Tongue.
Lightning opted to bat after winning the toss on the same pitch used for last Wednesday’s tie with Notts Outlaws, and Rapids captain Moeen delivered a tidy first over from the Diglis End.
Ben Dwarshuis made the first breakthrough in his first over when New Zealander Finn Allen, after making 10, top-edged a catch to Charlie Morris at third man.
There was a second scalp for the Rapids when Alex Davies on seven drove Morris to cover.
The Lightning scored 39-2 in the six-over powerplay.
Livingstone made 25 off 26 balls and, when he tried to accelerate, he picked out Wessels at long-on in Brett D’Oliveira’s first over.
Lightning captain Dane Vilas was fortunate when he sliced Sodhi just short of Moeen at backward point on eight.
Butler brought up his 43 ball half-century in a grand manner with a huge six over long-off.
He survived one dropped chance at long-off against Morris but was dismissed from the following delivery on 55 with Wessels holding on at long-on.
Morris finished with excellent figures of 4-0-25-2 and Dwarshuis 4-0-27-1 while D’Oliveira bowled his two overs for just five runs and a wicket.
Rapids openers D’Oliveira and Wessels launched the Rapids reply impressively.
Both got off the mark with boundaries in the third man region, and D’Oliveira then flicked successive deliveries from Danny Lamb behind square for four.
Wessels pulled Tom Hartley to the ropes, and the Rapids reached 48-0 from the six-over powerplay to give them an ideal launchpad for the remainder of the innings.
Wessels survived one chance when on 20 but was full of attacking intent, pulled spinner Matt Parkinson for four, and smashed Danny Lamb over mid-on.
The opening stand was worth 79 in just 8.5 overs when Wessels, having made 40 off 27 balls, was bowled by Parkinson, who then had Moeen on nine caught at mid-wicket.
But D’Oliveira continued in fine form and lofted Livingstone over mid-wicket for six as the 100 came up in the 12th over.
He and Jake Libby (17 not out) ensured no late alarms as the Rapids achieved victory in 17.2 overs.