Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Super Worcs Storm Into Top Two After Stunning Victory

Super Worcs Storm Into Top Two After Stunning Victory

Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke powered Worcestershire to the victory that lifts them into the Specsavers County Championship Division Two promotion places as they overcame Kent by four wickets at New Road.

Mitchell scored his fourth century in the last five Championship matches as Worcestershire galloped to their 399 target and achieved the third highest most successful chase in their history.

The former captain is enjoying a purple patch as he followed his 120 against Derbyshire, 161 versus Northamptonshire and 121 off the Sussex attack with another superb contribution.

Mitchell employed the cut shot to deadly effect and was seldom troubled in helping Worcestershire to chalk up their fifth win in seven Championship games this season.

He was given excellent support by Moeen Ali and then Clarke who in this game has recaptured his form with a vengeance in scoring two centuries in a Championship match for the first time in his blossoming career.

It was just the tonic the home side needed after two successive Campionship defeats and a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final setback.

The game was another excellent advert for Championship cricket and see-sawed both ways before Mitchell and Co tipped the balance in Worcestershire's favour.

It was Yasir Shah who finally sent Mitchell on his way for 142 from 243 balls with 20 boundaries after a stand of 175 in 38.2 overs with Clarke.

He departed to a standing ovation all around New Road after another invaluable knock and then Clarke ensured victory with an unbeaten 110.

Worcestershire resumed on 16-0 and openers Brett D'Oliveira and Mitchell extended their partnership to 52 before the former on 27 was bowled by a fine delivery from Darren Stevens which nipped back.

The occasional ball misbehaved off a length from the Diglish End but Mitchell and Moeen Ali were able to score freely during a stand of 112 in 22 overs.

An under-hit pull had led to Moeen's downfall in the first innings but he profited from the stroke in reaching his half century off 47 balls.

The pair looked so much in control that it was a surprise when Moeen (63) aimed to work Shah on the leg side and was lbw to the last ball before lunch.

Clarke then joined forces with Mitchell and maintained the required tempo throughout the afternoon session.

The England Lions player had gone into this game without a Championship half century to his name this season but all his rich promise and potential returned with a vengeance.

After Mitchell's departure, there was a slight concern for the home side as Shah struck twice more in dismissing George Rhodes (2) and Ben Cox (2).

But Clarke kept his nerve, passing three figures off 115 balls with 14 fours and a six, and some typical aggressive shots from Ross Whiteley (29) almost sealed the win before he became Shah's fifth victim.

It was left to Ed Barnard to drive Shah for four and make the winning hit but Clarke deservedly took the plaudits as he left the pitch.