Sunday, July 2nd, 2023


Worcestershire Rapids are through to the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast after triumphing by 28 runs against Derbyshire Falcons at the Incora County Ground.

The Rapids totalled 222-5 – their second-highest score of the season – with Mitchell Santner continuing his excellent form with his third half century in the 2023 tournament.

He hit FOUR successive sixes off spinner Matthew McKiernan and his 64 from 46 balls was his highest score of the summer.

Brett D’Oliveira and Jack Haynes ensured an excellent powerplay and Adam Hose and Ed Pollock also made invaluable runs in a total only surpassed by the Rapids this season when scoring 226-5 against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

It was their joint fifth-highest-ever total in T20 cricket.

The Rapids then had the home side on the back foot after Dillon Pennington continued his successful trend of bowling throughout the powerplay, and Pat Brown made early inroads.

Usama Mir and Pat Brown picked up three wickets apiece, and Santner produced a fine four-over spell to complete yet another high quality all-round performance.

The Rapids fully deserve their place in the last eight after bouncing back from last season’s Blast campaign and playing some excellent cricket in D’Oliveira’s first full season as T20 captain.

They set the tone for the tournament by winning their opening four games for only the second time in 20 years of T20 cricket and finished with eight victories, their best tally in a season since the 2018 title triumph.

Hose, Santner, D’Oliveira and Haynes all topped 300 runs, with Brown, D’Oliveira and Usama Mir, the leading wicket-takers and Pennington often effective bowling three of the opening six overs.

But it was a real team effort, with everyone making a crucial contribution when it was most needed, as highlighted by pace bowler Adam Finch’s three sixes in the dramatic last-over win over Yorkshire Vikings. 

Worcestershire were unchanged from the side which tied Friday’s encounter with Durham at New Road.

D’Oliveira won the toss and opted to bat first in a game where the winners would clinch a place in the knockout stages.

The game was played on the same wicket as the Falcons win over Leicestershire Foxes on Friday when they scored 241-4.

D’Oliveira was soon into his stride in lofting the final ball of Alex Thomson’s opening over for six over long on and hitting the Media Centre.

Haynes played a similar stroke to clear the ropes in Zak Chappell’s opening over and then guided the next delivery through backward point for another boundary.

With D’Oliveira scooping Chappell for four, the first two overs produced 25 runs in an excellent start for the Rapids.

D’Oliveira raced onto 23 from 11 balls, and the opening stand was worth 45 when he went for another big hit against Chappell and was caught off a skier at cover.

Haynes was joined by Santner, and the Rapids reached 70-1 from the initial six-over powerplay.

Santner pulled Alex Thomson for four to bring up the 100 in 10.4 overs and then slashed former Worcestershire player George Scrimshaw over point for a maximum.

Haynes contributed an excellent 44 before he was bowled by a fine delivery of full length from Zaman Khan to end a partnership of 72 in nine overs with Santner.

Hose quickly hit his straps in pulling Tom Wood for his first boundary.

Santner stepped up a gear, and the 15th over from McKiernan cost 29 runs after his six hitting barrage.

The second of them enabled Santner to complete a 40-ball half-century and he advanced to 64 before losing his leg stump to Chappell.

Kashif Ali (2) and Ben Cox (5) fell cheaply in the late scramble for runs, but Ed Pollock pulled Khan for successive sixes in the penultimate over.

Hose then cleared the boundary three times in Chappell’s last over, and his unbeaten 42 spanned just 21 balls.

When the Falcons launched their reply, Dillon Pennington bowled a tight opening over and then made the first breakthrough in his second.

Tom Wood (7) went for a big leg side hit but found the hands of Brown on the boundary edge.

Brown then came into the attack and claimed his 22nd scalp in the Blast in 2023 when Haider Ali sliced the ball high in the air to Usama Mir at mid off.

Harry Came rode his luck, and Pollock made a great effort to hold onto a legside pull off Brown as the Falcons reached 57-2 in their powerplay.

Santner was introduced for the 10th over and conceded just four runs as Derbyshire reached 96-2 at the half-way point.

Usama ended a partnership of 71 between Came and Wayne Madsen when the opener on 43 was smartly stumped by Cox off a widish delivery.

There was more joy for Usama when Leus du Plooy was well caught low down at long off by Jake Libby who was fielding for Haynes.

Finch ended Madsen’s knock on 63 when he carved the ball onto the off side and Brown produced a fine catch low down.

Santner’s final over brought about the dismissal of Brooke Guest (20) as he found D’Oliveira at cover as the wickets started to tumble at regular intervals.

Usama came back to bowl Thomson (11) and finish with 3-38.

Chappell (5) and McKiernan (1) fell in the same fashion to Finch and Brown, who then accounted for Khan (0) to seal the Rapids win.