Friday, June 25th, 2021


Brett D’Oliveira and Jake Libby powered Worcestershire to a superb Vitality Blast win over Durham with a record-breaking stand in the eight-wicket success over Durham at New Road.

The second-wicket pair enabled the Rapids to chase down a 179 target with three balls to spare and boost their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.

The partnership was worth 145 in 15 overs and surpassed the Rapids previous best second-wicket stand versus Durham on 97 by Joe Clarke and Ben Cox at New Road four years ago.

It provided rich entertainment for the 1,350 spectators, with D’Oliveira and Libby both achieving T20 career-best scores of 67 and 78, not out, respectively.

The Rapids produced a disciplined performance with the ball, and Charlie Morris returned his T20 best figures of 3-37 while Ben Dwarshuis again impressed with 2-27 in his four overs.

Worcestershire made one change to their side, with Daryl Mitchell brought into the eleven for his first T20 appearance of the season.

Durham elected to bat on the same hybrid wicket used for last week’s Blast game against Yorkshire.

Australian paceman Dwarshuis struck in his first over when Graham Clarke (13) sliced a delivery to Brett D’Oliveira at point.

David Bedingham produced a series of impressive strokes as the 50 came up in 5.3 overs, although Ross Whiteley produced a superb diving stop in the covers to prevent a boundary.

But the introduction of Ish Sodhi into the attack led to Bedingham’s downfall on 44 as he attempted a cut and was caught behind.

Ed Barnard picked up the prized wicket of England star Ben Stokes in his third Blast game since recovering from a broken finger.

He made 20 off 20 balls but aimed a leg-side hit off the Rapids all-rounder and only succeeded in top-edging a catch to Dwarshuis at backward point.

Dwarshuis also showed a safe pair of hands when Cameron Bancroft (26) lofted a Charlie Morris delivery to mid-off.

Morris enjoyed a further breakthrough as Sean Dickson (21) moved across his stumps and was lbw working the ball to leg.

Sodhi’s final ball of his spell accounted for Brydon Carse (15), who holed out to Brett D’Oliveira on the square leg boundary.

Ned Eckersley (8) found the hands of Jake Libby at long-off to give Morris his third wicket, and in the final, over Ben Raine (19) fell in the same to Dwarshuis.

When the Rapids launched their reply, Riki Wessels (2) fell to a superb one-handed catch at mid-wicket by Scott Borthwick off Matthew Potts.

D’Oliveira was in good touch, and he smashed Stokes over long-on for six and then cover drove Carse to the ropes.

Libby produced two superb straight drives for four off Potts, and the 50 stand with D’Oliveira came up in 27 balls.

The Rapids 100 came up in the 11th over in increasingly challenging light.

The stand was eventually broken when D’Oliveira was caught on the square-leg boundary off Carse.

His 49 ball knock contained two sixes and six fours.

Libby continued to score freely, but nine were still needed from the final over.

Captain Ben Cox allayed any fears foe the Rapids by scooping the second ball from Potts for six and straight driving the next ball for four.

Libby faced 55 balls and struck one six and nine fours.