Friday, June 13th, 2014

Russell’s Treble Blast Helps Keep Rapids Top Of Table Ahead Of Derby Clash

Chris Russell took three wickets in the final over as Worcestershire Rapids defeated Derbyshire Falcons by eight runs under floodlights at Derby – their fifth successive win in the NatWest T20 Blast – to set up a mouth-watering home derby with Birmingham Bears next Friday.

Derbyshire required 15 from the last six balls – the same tally the Rapids had successfully achieved in their win over Durham Jets at New Road last weekend.

 But Russell ensured there were no similar heroics from the Falcons as he dismissed Marcus North, Scott Elstone and Tony Palladino – with the final two clean bowled.

It took his wicket tally to 13 in five T20 Blast appearances this season.

Victory kept the Rapids top of the North Group and it was the first time they have won five successive matches in the competition.

Now the sell-out signs will be up for the visit of the Birmingham Bears with business director Jon Graham expecting the remaining tickets to be sold early next week – so buy your ticket now to avoid disappointment.

The Rapids reached 177-5 in their 20 overs thanks chiefly to excellent half centuries from Colin Munro and skipper Daryl Mitchell.

Skipper Wayne Madsen's 31 ball half century kept Derbyshire in contention but the visitors held their nerve and came out on top. 

Worcestershire were put into bat on a used pitch and opener Richard Oliver was bowled for a duck after sweeping at the third ball from Wes Durston whose opening over was a maiden.

Mitchell got the scoreboard moving with a hook for six over fine leg off Mark Turner. Tom Kohler-Cadmore (6) top edged Tony Palladino and was caught off a steepler by Mark Higginbotham with the total on 21.

Worcestershire reached 36-2 by the end of the powerplay but then Munro unleashed a series of powerful shots.

The New Zealander reverse swept Scott Elstone for a six and two fours in an over costing 17 runs and then drove Higginbotham for a straight six.

The 27-year-old reached his first 50 for the county off just 29 balls and then Mitchell hammered North for six over Long on to bring up the 100 in the 13th over.

The Mitchell-Munro partnership was worth 98 in 10 overs when the latter holed out to third man off Turner for 65 from 37 balls with two sixes and nine fours.

Mitchell followed up his maiden T20 half century in last week's win over Leicestershire by moving to his 50 off 39 balls.

Alexei Kervezee hit a breezy 25, including two sixes at the expense of Higginbotham, before perishing on the deep wicket boundary to the same bowler.

After the dismissal of ex Derbyshire player and last week's man of the match Ross Whiteley (0), Mitchell continued to blaze away and finished unbeaten on 68 from 51 balls with two sixes and five fours.

Derbyshire's former Worcestershire opener Stephen Moore picked up two boundaries in the opening over from Jack Shantry.

Wes Durston also collected two boundaries in Russell's first over but Shantry swapped ends and made the first breakthrough when he caught Durston (16) off a mistimed pull.

Russell also changed ends and Tom Knight (5) perished to Munro at mid on with the total on 34.

Moore brought up the 50 in the sixth over with a six off Shantry over mid wicket but the bowler struck for the second time when Gareth Cross (5) was pouched by Kervezee at deep mid wicket.

Derbyshire reached 83-3 at the half-way stage with the game evenly poised.

Saeed Ajmal had conceded two runs in his first over and when he returned to the attack he had Moore smartly stumped by Ben Cox for 32 off 25 balls in another over costing just two runs.

Powerful hitting by Madsen kept Derbyshire in the hunt and they needed 53 from the final five overs as Madsen and Marcus North brought up their 50 stand off 33 balls.

They required 21 from the last two overs and Madsen's excellent innings of 65 from 40 balls ended when he was caught by Munro off Shantry at deep mid wicket in an over costing just six runs.

Then came Russell's dramatic intervention and he finished with figures of 4-40 and Shantry 3-34.