Friday, July 7th, 2023


Worcestershire Rapids bid to reach Vitality Blast finals day came to an end when they went down by five wickets to Hampshire Hawks in a quarter-final tie at the Ageas Bowl.

Other than an enterprising 70-run partnership between Usama and Ed Pollock, wickets fell cheaply at regular intervals as the Rapids were bowled out for 100 in 17.5 overs.

In reply, Adam Finch then claimed two wickets during the powerplay, and spinners Mitchell Santner and Usama, with 2-20 in his four overs, caused a few problems and bowled tightly.

But reigning champions Hampshire were able to reach their target with 4.3 overs to spare.

The Rapids were unchanged from the side which had overcome Derbyshire Falcons in their final North Group match at the Incora County Ground.

When the Rapids batted, Jack Haynes (0) was dismissed off a leading edge in the opening over when caught and bowled by Chris Wood.

Santner eased the final ball through backward point for the first boundary off the final ball of the over.

Captain Brett D’Oliveira (1) attempted a ramp shot against John Turner and was bowled.

Santner struck Wood for the first six of the innings over long on to go past 400 runs in this season’s Blast, but he fell to a catch by James Vince running back at long off aiming for another big hit.

Adam Hose (0) pulled a delivery from Turner and was caught around the corner at backward square leg at 17-4 in the fourth over.

Ben Cox produced a handsome cover drive for his first boundary at Turner’s expense as the Rapids reached 29-4 at the end of the powerplay.

Kashif Ali (2) aimed a blow across the line at Fuller and was bowled, and Cox (8) scooped up a catch to mid wicket off the first delivery bowled by Nathan Ellis.

Usama gave the innings an injection of runs with a six over long off and four over extra cover in the first over from spinner Liam Dawson which cost 16 runs.

Pollock gave him good support, and a six over mid wicket off Fuller by the left hander brought up the 50 partnership in 45 balls.

The stand had reached 70 when Usama, having made 39 off 34 balls, sliced a delivery from Benny Howell into the hands of short third man.

He hit one six and four boundaries in his highest score for the Rapids.

The innings was wrapped up when three wickets fell in the 18th over from Ellis

Adam Finch (1) lost his middle stump to a delivery of full length, Dillon Pennington (0) was caught at cover, and Pat Brown (0) went lbw pushing forward to the next delivery.

It left Pollock unbeaten on 24 from 27 balls.

When the Rapids fielded, Usama had to leave the field after going down injured attempting to field a James Vince cover drive in Pennington’s first over and was replaced by Jake Libby.

Finch struck with his first delivery as Aneurin Donald (5) attempted a cut and Cox took a smart catch away to his right.

Cox then needed treatment after landing heavily on his shoulder away to his left after Vince edged a ball from Finch.

But he was able to continue, and Usama returned to the field at the start of the fourth over bowled by Brown.

There was more success for Finch when Vince skied a catch to cover to the penultimate ball of the powerplay with 48 on the board.

Santner was introduced for the eighth over, and he dismissed Tom Prest (25), who went for a reverse sweep and was superbly caught by Usama Mir at short third man.

Dawson fell in the same manner, this time to D’Oliveira at backward point, to give Usama Mir his first wicket.

The Pakistan international also sent back Joe Weatherley (25), with D’Oliveira running back from cover to take the catch before the Hawks got over the finishing line in 15.3 overs.