Friday, August 4th, 2023


Worcestershire Rapids continued their impressive run of results as they defeated Glamorgan by four wickets in the Metro Bank Cup One-Day Cup, with spinners Josh Baker and Brett D’Oliveira and opening batter Azhar Ali all playing key roles at New Road.

They followed up the mid-week away success over Durham with another excellent all-round performance to reach their 200 target with 8.3 overs to spare. 

Glamorgan were bowled out for 199 in just 40.2 overs in front of a 3,500 plus crowd after being put into bat by Rapids captain Jake Libby.

Pace bowler Dillon Pennington picked up two early wickets, and, as against Durham, the spin duo of Baker and D’Oliveira proved effective.

They shared five more wickets to add to the six at the Seat Unique Riverside.

Slow left armer Baker is regaining the rhythm and form he had demonstrated before his lengthy lay-off with a back injury.

D’Oliveira’s leg spin is being given its full rein by Libby and causing a string of problems to opposition batters. 

Azhar Ali, a member of the Somerset side which won the tournament in 2019, then ensured Worcestershire would have few alarms in reaching their target.

He completed an 84-ball half-century with three boundaries and went on to make 78 from 104 balls with four fours and two sixes.

Azhar received excellent support from fellow opener D’Oliveira and then new signing Rob Jones in a decisive century partnership.

Worcestershire are looking full of confidence after their run to the quarter-finals in the Vitality Blast and back-to-back wins to fuel their LV=Insurance County Championship promotion challenge. 

Libby put Glamorgan into bat, and opener Tom Bevan survived two lbw shouts in the opening over from Joe Leach.

Bevan and Ed Byrom provided a useful platform in accumulating 36 runs from the opening seven overs, but then the game swung Worcestershire’s way.

Bevan drove loosely at Ben Gibbon and was taken by Azhar at first slip, and then Colin Ingram was run out at the non-striker’s end after Gibbon deflected a straight drive from Byrom onto the stumps.

Pennington bowled a probing spell and was rewarded with a double breakthrough as he continued the form shown in the last two LV=Insurance Championship games, which yielded 14 wickets.

Byrom tried to shoulder arms but only inside-edged a delivery onto the stumps, and his next over accounted for Billy Root, who was caught behind of a ball which nipped away. 

Ben Kellaway looked in good touch as he and Glamorgan captain Kiran Carlson looked to repair the innings.

He had one early slice of good fortune when edging Pennington just wide of second slip but otherwise looked composed and reeled off a series of fine strokes in adding 65 in 12 overs with Carlson.

But the introduction of Baker and D’Oliveira brought about a decline in Glamorgan’s fortunes as the last six wickets fell for 62 runs in 14.1 overs.

Carlson tried to hit D’Oliveira over the top but only found Kashif Ali at long on, and then Alex Horton turned D’Oliveira to mid-wicket and ventured a few paces out of his crease but failed to beat Libby’s throw to keeper Ben Cox.

Kellaway completed a 48 ball half-century with seven boundaries, but wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end.

Andy Gorvin played back to D’Oliveira and was bowled, and Harry Podmore cut Baker into the hands of Matthew Waite at backward point.

Jamie McIlroy pushed forward to Baker and was also bowled before Kellaway’s fine knock brought an end to the innings when he lofted D’Oliveira to long on.

When Worcestershire batted, D’Oliveira (22) was caught behind off an inside edge after attempting to drive Podmore with 36 on the board.

Azhar and new signing Rob Jones then featured in the decisive stand of exactly 100 in 20 overs.

Jones, on loan from Lancashire before beginning a three-year deal next summer, and Azhar suffered few alarms.

Azhar hit Ben Morris for a six over long off and then leg-glanced the next ball for four to complete the century stand.

(37) Jones went down the wicket to Carlson and fell to a splendid catch by Bevan at long on.

Azhar’s fine innings ended when he was stumped down the leg side off a wide from Carlson.

Kashif Ali (11) and Ben Cox (4) looked as if they wanted to end proceedings in double quick time, and both fell to Carlson, at long on and long off, respectively, while Matthew Waite (6) sliced Gorvin to short third man.

But Libby saw Worcestershire over the finishing line.