Sunday, June 9th, 2024

Highlights & Report | Leicestershire Foxes v Worcestershire Rapids

Worcestershire Rapids were edged out for the second successive match as Leicestershire Foxes triumphed by four runs in a Vitality Blast encounter at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

The Rapids required 12 off the final over from Josh Hull in pursuit of a 177 target but, despite a no ball and a free hit, they fell just short on 172-6.

For long periods, the Rapids looked on course for victory with Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira, Matthew Waite, Josh Cobb and Ethan Brookes all scoring between 32 and 40.

But the two spinners Lewis Goldsworthy and Rehan Ahmed bowled excellent spells to keep the Foxes in contention.

Earlier Nathan Smith and Adam Finch both picked up three wickets for the Rapids and there was another excellent spell of leg spin from D’Oliveira.

But 32 runs from the final two overs gave Leicestershire what proved to be a defendable total.

The Rapids made one change from the side in action against Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Friday evening with all-rounder Cobb returning in place of on loan spinner Shoaib Bashir.

D’Oliveira, won the toss and put the Foxes into bat.

Worcestershire reverted to an all-pace powerplay and were rewarded with two wickets.

Smith made the first breakthrough when Sol Budinger tried to turn a delivery on the leg side and was taken by Finch at short third man.

Finch then came into the attack and struck  when Foxes captain Peter Handscomb tried to cut and Cobb held onto a fine catch at wide third man.

Leicestershire reached 44-2 at the end of the powerplay.

D’Oliveira brought himself into the attack and ended a partnership of 48 when Kimber found the hands of Adam Hose at long off.

He struck again when bowling a delivery wide of the stumps after Wiaan Mulder gave him the charge and he was neatly stumped by Gareth Roderick

Rishi Patel moved to within two runs of a half century before hitting Finch straight to Hose at wide long on.

Former Worcestershire keeper Ben Cox made 29 before he came down the wicket to Smith and he edged through to Roderick away to his right.

Finch struck for a third time when Ahmed was pouched by Ethan Brookes at long on and there was a third scalp for Smith in the final over when he held a reflex one-handed return catch to account for Lewis Goldsworthy.

Smith finished with 4-0-39-3, Finch 4-0-43-3 and D’Oliveira 4-0-42-2.

Worcestershire were given an excellent start by D’Oliveira and Matthew Waite in the powerplay which produced 55 runs.

D’Oliveira did the bulk of the early scoring, twice in an over steering Hull for boundaries wide of short third man.

Waite got into his stride after hitting a free-hit from Hull for six and then collecting two boundaries in an over from Ben Mike.

The stand was worth 70 before D’Oliveira (32) went for a reverse sweep against Rehan Ahmed and was bowled.

The scoring rate was reduced by spinners Ahmed and Goldsworthy but new batter Cobb swung the momentum back in the Rapids favour.

He smashed the returning Ben Mike for two sixes and two fours in an over costing 21 runs.

Waite’s knock of 40 from 35 balls came to an end when he was caught at deep mid wicket off Scott Currie at 105-2.

Hose was stumped off Goldsworthy after coming down the pitch but Brookes looked to have tipped the scales in the Rapids favour with a gem of an innings.

He hit Mulder and Hull for maximums in making 37 off 15 balls.

Worcestershire appeared favourites but Ahmed returned to bowl Cobb (34) off the inside edge and Brookes was out in the penultimate over from Currie, caught of a slice on the cover boundary.

The final over from Hull included a free hit after a no ball but the Rapids just failed to reach their target.

Ethan Brookes said: “I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to get the lads over the line in the end. This is the fifth Twenty20 game that I’ve played and I want to win games of cricket for Worcestershire.

“It hurts and it is disappointing but the games come so thick and fast that you just have to put defeats to bed, learn from them and hope to make amends in the next game.

“We had a great opening 10 overs that lay down a good platform for us and we knew from their innings when they got 60 off the last five overs that we could catch up in the end and it is frustrating that we couldn’t quite get there.

“We’re two wins from five when it could have been four from five with two very close games but we’ll rest and recover, train on Thursday and hopefully get a win over Nottinghamshire back at New Road on Friday.”

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