Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Hepburn Returns County’s Best T20 Figures As Rapids Are Edged Out

Alex Hepburn returned the best ever figures by a Worcestershire bowler in T20 cricket but ended on the losing side as the Rapids went down by 11 runs to Notts Outlaws in a low-scoring game at New Road.

Hepburn finished with 5-24 as the Outlaws were dismissed for 145 in 19.3 overs – a fine effort by the Rapids against the North Group leaders.

It surpassed the previous best figures of 5-28 by Daryl Mitchell against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Northampton three years ago.

But Hepburn’s efforts proved to be in vain as the Rapids lost early wickets in reply and were restricted to 134-8 despite sterling efforts by Mitchell, Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley to repair the early damage.

Victory sealed the Outlaws spot in the quarter-finals as they gained revenge for the defeat at the hands of the Rapids at Trent Bridge.

The Outlaws were put into bat and Josh Tongue picked up the prized wicket of Alex Hales (9) who flashed outside the off stump and nicked through to keeper Cox.

Riki Wessels (32) looked in good form before being trapped lbw by George Scrimshaw at 49-2 – and from that point the innings went into decline.

Tom Moores (15) was caught and bowled by Tongue off a skier and Brendon Taylor (9) holed out to Joe Clarke at long off against Brett D’Oliveira.

Hepburn made an instant impact with two wickets in three balls as Samit Patel (13) flicked him to skipper Joe Leach at square leg and Steven Mullaney (0) was caught at cover by D’Oliveira.

Outlaws skipper Dan Christian (22) and Billy Root (37) tried to lead a recovery during a stand of 50 in seven overs.

But the last four wickets fell in quick succession.

Hepburn returned to account for Christian (22) who was taken at long off by Santner and Cox pulled off a fine catch as Root (37) flicked at a Leach delivery.

D’Oliveira then ran in from the deep square leg boundary to collect a mistimed pull from Ish Sodhi (3) off Hepburn who completed his five-for as Jake Ball (4) was safely pouched by Clarke at long off.

It was the same scenario when the Rapids launched their reply as wickets tumbled.

Leach (5) promoted himself to open and fell in the first over from Patel at long off.

Santner (6) top edged Harry Gurney to backward point and Joe Clarke (9) went for a pull against Christian and was caught extra cover.

It became 35-4 as D’Oliveira (3) went to drive and was bowled by Ball (3).

Mitchell and Cox and added 38 in careful fashion in six overs.

But the game was back in the balance after Cox (17) drove at Christian and was caught behind and then Mitchell (32) went for a big hit off the same bowler and miscued to mid off.

Christian then pulled off a stunning catch at mid off to dismiss Ed Barnard (15) as he attempted to hit Ball over the top.

Ross Whiteley was the Rapids last major hope and smote Ball for six over long on but after making 28 he was bowled in the final over by Gurney which yielded just three runs.