Sunday, June 16th, 2024

Report & Highlights | Rapids vs Steelbacks

Ethan Brookes produced a fine all-round performance but Worcestershire Rapids went down by 11 runs in another closely fought Vitality Blast encounter with Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Visit Worcestershire New Road.

For the fourth game in a row the Rapids, who are fielding a new look side this season, were in strong contention for victory.

But were edged out in the final straight after being set a 144 target despite Brookes returning 1-20 off four overs with the ball and top-scoring with 42 – his joint highest T20 score.

Worcestershire bowled well but were let down by some loose fielding which cost them precious runs which made all the difference in the final analysis.

The Rapids closed just short on 132-7 and will now be looking to regroup for Friday’s always eagerly anticipated home derby with Birmingham Bears on Friday.

Worcestershire made two changes with on loan England spinner Shoaib Bashir and Rob Jones replacing the unavailable Josh Cobb and Matthew Waite.

Northamptonshire skipper David Willey won the toss and opted to bat and he looked uncomfortable alongside fellow opener Matthew Breetzke.

Willey had a slice of good fortune when he inside-edged Nathan Smith for four and was then dropped at cover on 14 off Tom Taylor.

But Adam Finch made the breakthrough when the former England all-rounder pulled a delivery straight to deep mid wicket.

West Indies leg spinner, Hayden Walsh, struck when George Bartlett came down the wicket and lost his middle stump.

Ravi Bopara then went for a big hit against Ethan Brookes but only found the hands of Adam Hose at long on.

Matthew Breetzke and Sikandar Raza then featured in the mainstay stand of the innings in adding 75 but scoring never came freely.

Three wickets in two overs checked the Steelbacks hopes of obtaining some late momentum.

Former Northamptonshire all-rounder Tom Taylor removed both of the partnership-makers in the 19th over with Breetzke, who completed a 41-balls fifty, caught at mid-off and Raza following at long on.

Finch then trapped Saif Zaib lbw as Northamptonshire closed on 143 for six.

Worcestershire launched their innings with a new opening partnership for Brett D’Oliveira in Rob Jones.

Jones (8) was caught behind in Raphael Weatherall’s first over and then Ben Sanderson struck twice in the space of three balls.

He had new number three, Gareth Roderick (5) taken at mid wicket and then two balls later Adam Hose (0) lost his middle stump at 31-3.

Brett D’Oliveira and Ethan Brookes batted sensibly in adding 46 but Worcestershire’s Club captain then spooned up a catch to mid-on off Raphael Weatherall.

The game was back in the balance when Bartlett pulled off a fine catch at deep backward square to account for Brookes off the recalled Willey.

Smith and Ed Pollock also perished in the deep as Northamptonshire ensured they maintained their grip on proceedings.

Worcestershire Assistant Head Coach, Kadeer Ali, said: “Quite disappointing to be honest. Over the last three games, we had some close games which we deserved to get over the line.

“But today Northamptonshire outplayed us if I’m honest. They used the conditions better than we did and it was a disappointing result for us.

“I think we were a little bit sloppy in the field. We bowled pretty nicely and we conceded six to eight runs through misfields and in T20 cricket four to six runs can cost you the game.

“We’ve lost games recently by that margin and losing six runs in the field today wasn’t great. With the bat, again being three down in the powerplay and we’ve done that quite regularly in this competition.

“We tried to change it at the top of the order a little bit and especially the wicket at New Road has done a little bit at the top for both sides.

“We tried to be a bit more solid at the top and get a bit of a platform but unfortunately that hasn’t worked for us today.

“It is important we stay nice and confident and the lads don’t go into their shell and we come out fighting and be a but more aggressive and positive with our body language and the way we play.”