Friday, June 20th, 2014

Super Rapids Triumph In Local Derby To Maintain Top Spot In T20 Blast

Super Rapids Triumph In Local Derby To Maintain Top Spot In T20 Blast

Worcestershire Rapids maintained top spot in the North Group of the NatWest T20 Blast as they triumphed by eight wickets over Birmingham Bears in front of a sell-out New Road crowd.

The Rapids sixth successive win in the competition was achieved with a comprehensive 33 balls to spare much to the delight of the 5,000 spectators.

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell put the visitors into bat and they ended their 20 overs on 133-8 after fine bowling by Chris Russell, Jack Shantry and Saeed Ajmal and an excellent fielding display with Ross Whiteley particularly outstanding in the deep.

Then Mitchell completed his third half century in the last four T20 Blast matches and, aided by big hitting from Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Colin Munro, sealed victory for the Rapids who looked to maximise the powerplay.

It was the perfect send-off for the squad who will now have a few deserved days break before they reconvene to prepare for next Friday's home T20 Blast clash with Nottinghamshire Outlaws.

With the team also in the top two of Division Two in the LV = County Championship, these are days to be enjoyed although Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes is keen to stress that nothing has been won yet.

Will Porterfield twice leg glanced Shantry for four in the opening over of the Warwickshire innings but the left armer broke through when Varun Chopra (5) holed out to Richard Oliver on the mid wicket boundary.

Shantry struck again when Porterfield gave him the charge and was bowled for 14 as Birmingham closed the powerplay on 31-1.

Shoaib Malik and Jonathan Trott added 83 in 11 overs for the third wicket and the former struck three sixes – two off Brett D'Oliveira and one off Munro.

Malik reached his 50 off 39 balls but he departed to his next delivery when he drilled Munro to Whiteley at long on with the total on 108.

Ajmal's spell was split into three and he conceded only 10 runs in his superb four over spell.

Worcestershire prevented the Bears from obtaining any late innings acceleration as they picked up wickets at regular intervals.

Russell was already the joint leading T20 Blast wicket-taker this season with 13 from five games and he added three more victims in his final two overs on his way to figures of 3-26.

Trott's patient knock of 39 ended when he mistimed a pull at Russell to Ajmal at mid on. Rikki Clarke (5) perished to Whiteley on the mid wicket boundary to give Shantry another wicket and he finished with the excellent figures of 3-25.

Then three wickets went down in Russell's final over with Chris Woakes (2) run out by Whiteley's throw from deep square leg attempting a second run.

Laurie Evans (6) mis-hit Russell to Kohler-Cadmore at mid on and then Jeetan Patel hit his first ball for six and was bowled by the next.

Worcestershire set off with positive intent and quickly overcame the loss ofOliver in Malik's first over for a single.

Mitchell and Kohler-Cadmore soon settled into their stride with a string of boundaries. Mitchell square cut Woakes for four and then worked him off his legs for another boundary.

He then collected three fours in an over from Malik as the 50 stand with Kohler-Cadmore was achieved from just 27 balls.

Kohler-Cadmore also flicked Woakes off his legs to the ropes and pulled spinner Patel for four as the home side reached 66-1 by the end of the six over powerplay – almost half-way to their target.

Kohler-Cadmore (25) was caught on the mid wicket boundary by Porterfield off Woakes to end a partnership of 70 in six overs with Mitchell.

But that was the end of Warwickshire's success as Munro showed his hitting ability with two reverse sweeps for six off Malik.

Mitchell needed treatment to his left shoulder but he did not seemed affected and he and Munro hurried Worcestershire to victory in 14.3 overs.

Mitchell finished unbeaten on 62 from 45 balls with seven fours and Munro was 39 not out from 24 deliveries with two sixes and four fours.