Friday, June 7th, 2024

Highlights & Report | Northants Steelbacks v Worcestershire Rapids

Shoaib Bashir picked up two wickets on his Worcestershire Rapids debut but ended on the losing side in the Vitality Blast encounter with Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road despite some superb late hitting by Gareth Roderick.

The England spinner, signed on loan from Somerset, hit back after a challenging start to his spell to dismiss Matthew Breetkze and David Willey.

Bashir helped the Rapids reduce the home side to 90-4 after 14 overs.

But then man of the match Saif Zaib and Sikandar Raza changed the course of the game by adding  an unbroken 79 from 37 balls.

Worcestershire were facing an above par target of 170 and lost wickets at regular intervals, despite several players getting starts, and the game looked over at 120-8.

Some excellent striking from Roderick revived the Rapids hopes but in the end an excellent final over from youngster Raphael Weatherall, when 11 were required, tipped the scales in the Steelbacks favours

Worcestershire Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, returned to the side after missing the win over Notts Outlaws with a shoulder injury.

The Steelbacks won the toss and decided to bat in the Sky Sports televised fixture.

Northamptonshire reached 47-0 by the end of the powerplay despite two excellent overs from Nathan Smith but then the wickets started to tumble.

There was joy for spinner Hayden Walsh when Ricardo Vasconcelos (28) went for a pull and was bowled to give the West Indian his first wicket for the Rapids.

Bashir broke through in his second over when Matthew Breetkze (26) holed out to Smith at deep mid wicket.

The off spinner had more success when David Willey (3) picked out Adam Hose at long on.

Bashir nearly added to his wicket tally with his next delivery when Sikandar Raza inside edged past the off stump for a single.

Walsh bowled a superb spell from the opposite end and finished with 1-17 from his four overs.

Worcestershire were well in control when Adam Finch dismissed Ravi Bopara, caught off a leading edge by Tom Taylor at mid off.

But Saif Zaib and Raza added 79 from just 37 balls to lift the final total to a competitive 169-4.

When Worcestershire batted,  D’Oliveira (8) was caught at long off against Zaib.

Ed Pollock and Matthew Waite collected boundaries in an over from Ben Sanderson but then both fell in quick succession.

Pollock (14) was bowled by David Willey – his 300th T20 wicket – after aiming a blow on the leg side and Waite (12) edged a fine delivery from Sanderson.

Hose struck Freddie Heidreich for a huge six over deep mid wicket and Ethan Brookes produced several fine strokes.

But Brookes (24) was undone lbw by Ravi Bopara’s knuckle ball and Hose, having hit the same bowler for a six off a free hit, fell to a stunning catch down the ground off Zaib after making 30 off 21 balls.

Taylor (60 gave Zaib the charge and was bowled, Smith (11) was caught at short third man off Heldreich and Walsh (0) was bowled aiming a big hit in the same over.

Roderick, with support from Adam Finch, kept Worcestershire’s hopes alive , twice hitting Sanderson over mid wicket for six and repeating the shot against Willey.

But the keeper-batter, having made 39 off 22 balls, was bowled attempting another leg side hit in the final over as the Rapids just missed out on a dramatic win.

Gareth Roderick said: “A bit annoyed not to finish it off for the boys but these T20 games are fine margins.

“I wish I could have that one (last over) back but unfortunately we leave here with a loss.

“I thought 170 was around par. We lost wickets in the middle in clusters and they tied us down a little bit.

“It’s frustrating when you don’t finish things off but I haven’t played a lot (of T20) during the last few years so it’s nice to be on the park with the boys.”