Sunday, July 28th, 2019


opening pair riki wessels and martin guptill bludgeoned holders worcestershire rapids to a nine wicket victory over durham in the vitality blast as the home side made a triumphant return to playing cricket at New Road.

wessels and guptill made short work of a challenging 182 target as they galloped to half centuries off just 20 and 18 balls respectively and between them hit fifteen sixes.

even allowing for the shortish cathedral side boundary, it was an astonishing display of hitting by the duo and thrilled a 3,800 crowd.

all of the durham attack were powerless to stem the tide of sixes and boundaries as the hundred came up in the seventh over and the rapids raced to their second blast win of the campaign.

the partnership was worth 148 in just 8.5 overs when wessels, having made 74 off 29 balls with five sixes and eight fours, lofted carse to mid off and left the ground to a standing ovation.

guptill continued to pepper the boundary and ended unbeaten on 86 from 31 balls with 10 sixes and three fours.

fittingly he ended the game with a six off liam trevaskis and also departed to applause all around New Road.

worcestershire have been forced to de-camp to kidderminster’s chester road ground for their specsavers county championship matches with sussex and derbyshire after their headquarters suffered a middle of june flood – and this was a spectacular return.

the rapids opted to bowl and durham opener d’arcy short made a quickfire 23 but then turned a free hit delivery from pat brown to mid wicket, set off for a risky single and failed to beat rapid skipper brett d’oliveira’s direct hit.

ben raine (6) perished in the next over when he came down the wicket to pennington and nicked through to keeper ben cox.

it became three wickets in three overs when scott steel (13) sliced parnell to ross whiteley at cover.

durham’s new signing peter handscomb, who has replaced fellow australian cameron bancroft, and alex lees set about repairing the early damage and brought up the half century stand in six overs.

lees was in a particularly aggressive mood and his 44 off 31 balls included three sixes before he gave pennington the charge and was bowled to end a stand of 75 in eight overs with handscomb.

handscomb (37 off 28 balls) eventually perished at long off to guptill off brown on his return to the attack for the 17th over.

brown struck again in the same over when jack burnham (23) picked out whiteley at deep mid-wicket before trevaskis (6) was lbw to parnell.