Sunday, September 13th, 2020


Jake Libby and Ben Cox continued their fine form with the bat but Worcestershire Rapids went down in the final over to Birmingham Bears by six wickets in the Vitality Blast encounter.

Libby struck his second half century in the tournament to take his run tally to 255 at an average of 51 while Cox followed up his excellent fifty at Taunton with a quickfire 46 not out from 28 balls.

It enabled the Rapids to total 178-4 after electing to bat – a score Head Coach Alex Gidman felt was around the par mark on what was a fresh wicket.

Charlie Morris picked up a wicket with the first ball of the innings for the second game running but an unbeaten 73 from Sam Hain saw the visitors to victory with five balls to spare.

The Bears lifted the Norman Gifford Trophy with their second win over the Rapids in the last nine Blast matches and it will again be the prize on offer in Friday’s match at Edgbaston.

Gidman said: “It was a decent game. We are Obviously disappointed to be on the wrong end of it. I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the game but lacked a bit of experience and composure at crucial times to make the difference with the bat and ball which was probably the difference between the teams.

“I thought we were about par with our score. Over par would have been 190 plus. Either way, 178 is still a good score. We just lacked a little bit with both bat and ball which is a great thing for us to reflect on and try and improve for the rest of the tournament.

“The guys tried their utmost to get us up to as good a score as possible but sometimes you have to give credit to the bowlers for executing their skills very, very well.

“It’s similar to what we did a couple of years ago. We would reduce teams to par score, or just below par, with some really good death bowling and they did that really well which kept us to a par score as opposed to an over par score and, had we done that, we may have had a chance of defending.

“Sam Hain played very well and we never managed to get quite enough pressure on him to make him feel he needed to do anything reckless but equally I thought Jake Libby and Ben Cox batted well for us as well.”

Both sides made one change with the Rapids bringing Dillon Pennington back for fellow paceman Adam Finch.

The Rapids, fresh from their first Blast win of the season against Somerset on Friday, again opted to bat first and Hamish Rutherford collected two boundaries in Ollie Stone’s first over.

The England paceman broke through in his second over when Riki Wessels (10) moved across his stumps and was lbw trying to work to leg.

New batsman Libby was soon into his stride with three fours in Henry Brookes first over and added 59 in six overs with Rutherford.

The New Zealander had made 41 off 32 balls with five boundaries when he lofted the returning Stone over cover but departed to a fine low catch on the boundary by Dominic Sibley.

Libby went into overdrive during the remainder of the over with a six over deep mid wicket and a cut and pull which flew to the boundary.

The former Nottinghamshire batsman reached an excellent half century off 29 balls with nine fours.

Cox continued the fine form he had shown in scoring his first T20 half century for two years at Taunton after again being promoted to number four.

He drilled Jacob Lintott over the long off boundary and cleared the ropes at backward square off Bresnan.

Libby advanced to 63 before being bowled aiming a drive in the penultimate over at Brookes who achieved the unusual feat at such a late stage of an innings in T20 cricket of bowling a maiden.

Ross Whiteley hit a six in the final over from Stone before being bowled for 12 as the Rapids closed on 178-4.

Morris had dismissed Babar Azam with his first delivery at Taunton and repeated his performance by having Dominic Sibley (0) caught at mid off from the opening ball of the Bears reply.

Bears T20 debutant Rob Yates struck three sixes in his quickfire 29. Pat Brown broke through when Yates went for a pull and edged through to Cox after adding 54 with Adam Hose.

Hose, having raced to 43 off 25 balls, swept Ed Barnard into the hands of Libby at backward square leg.

Will Rhodes (18) was run out attempting a quick single to Barnard at mid off but Hain saw the Bears over the finishing line.