Brett D’Oliveira produced a superb all-round performance as Worcestershire Rapids overcame Lancashire Lightning by 29 runs in a thrilling Vitality Blast encounter at New Road.
Worcestershire’s Club captain top-scored with 33 to move past 300 runs this summer in the competition as the Rapids set a challenging target of 179 after being put in to bat.
He then delivered career-best T20 figures with the ball of 4-20 from four overs to inspire a magnificent comeback after Lancashire had reached 85-0 in the ninth over.
D’Oliveira ripped through the Lightning top order and received excellent support from the entire Rapids attack.
Lancashire lost ten wickets for 64 runs to be bowled out for 149 to bring joy to the watching Rapids fans after a challenging campaign.
The Rapids had a more measured approach to their batting after losing too many wickets in the powerplay overs.
All of the top five made valuable contributions, and then Mitchell Stanley set the tone for the Rapids attack with some pacey bowling with the new ball.
Moeen Ali and Pat Brown backed up D’Oliveira’s initial flurry of wickets with two apiece to ensure there was no recovery by the Lancashire lower order.
The Rapids will aim to end the Blast on a high note when they entertain Notts Outlaws on Sunday (2.30pm start).
The Rapids made two changes, with Jake Libby and Dillon Pennington replacing Ed Pollock and Adam Finch.
New England white-ball captain, Jos Buttler, made his first appearance of the season for the Lightning.
The Rapids were put in to bat and were given an excellent start by Libby and D’Oliveira, during an opening stand of 49 in 5.1 overs.
Libby straight drove and pulled former Worcestershire loanee Luke Wood for successive boundaries.
D’Oliveira drove Gleeson for four, turned Tom Hartley around the corner to the ropes, and passed 300 runs in the competition this summer.
The partnership was broken in the final over of the powerplay when Libby (18) skied Wood to mid-wicket.
D’Oliveira raced onto 33 before falling to a catch at long on against the bowling of Luke Wells.
Moeen looked in good touch, and a six-over mid-wicket off Wood sailed out of the ground.
He had made 31 from only 17 deliveries and added 51 in 5.2 overs with Colin Munro before the pair departed in successive overs.
Moeen picked out cover off Wells, and Munro (26) lofted Matt Parkinson straight to long on.
But then recent signing, Kashif Ali again looked full of quality in making 27 off 15 balls, including two sixes, before he departed to a catch at deep mid-wicket off Tom Hartley.
Ed Barnard (11) was caught at mid-off, but then Gareth Roderick produced the shot of the innings, a six-over fine leg off Gleeson.
When the Lightning batted, Stanley bowled a superb first over with plenty of pace.
Buttler was fortunate to survive when he edged the second legitimate bowler from the 21-year-old, with Moeen spilling a straightforward chance.
He managed only two runs off his first seven balls but then gradually accelerated.
The powerplay yielded 61 runs, but then D’Oliveira had Buttler (42) caught at backward square leg to begin a dramatic collapse.
Steven Croft was caught behind off Barnard, and then D’Oliveira dismissed Salt, 44, and Dane Vilas with successive balls before Tim David holed out to long on in his next over.
Moeen came into the attack and removed Danny Lamb, and Luke Wells in successive overs before Brown’s two wickets helped to polish off the innings before Dwayne Bravo had the final say.