Monday, May 6th, 2019


super worcestershire are through to the knockout stages of the royal london one-day cup after centuries by riki wessels and callum ferguson enabled the rapids to chase down a 352 target against derbyshire falcons at the 3aaa county ground.

the county have booked a home quarter-final which will take place at New Road on friday against the third placed team in the south group.

they came close to topping the north group for the third year running but notts outlaws one wicket win over northamptonshire steelbacks means they will go through to the semi-finals.

the winners of the rapids and somerset tie will then travel to take on south group winners hampshire in the semi-finals on sunday.

wayne madsen and luis reece scored centuries for the home side who totalled 351-9.

but wessels produced a magnificent, often brutal display of hitting to launch the rapids reply in spectacular manner in making 130 off 62 balls.

then ferguson ensured the rapids capitalised on wessels superb launchpad with an innings of similar quality to his 64 not out to seal victory in last summer’s vitality blast quarter-final against gloucestershire.

he finished undefeated on 103 from 95 balls in a game which produced top notch entertainment for sky sports.

wessels said: “i’ve been a bit dry for runs of late so it was quite nice to ease a bit of pressure and play freely.

“it was a good wicket, we probably dragged it back towards the end and they were maybe disappointed they didn’t get crack on and get a few more but we were happy to chase it down and hopefully there’s more to come.

“it was fergie’s third hundred in eight games for worcestershire. he’s a fantastic player. he only landed last week and he’s straight in with an unbeaten hundred.”

on reaching the knock-out stages, wessels said: “at this stage you want to keep playing as often as you can and you have to keep winning if you want to win tournaments, so keep them coming.”

wessels raced to his first 50 off 31 balls and tore into the bowling, pulling logan van beek for three sixes.

he then pulled and drove mark watt for three consecutive sixes in an over that cost 26 and dispatched alex hughes for two more before his sixth four took him to a 47 ball hundred.

the derbyshire bowlers were powerless to stop the onslaught.

tom fell was an able ally to wessels and continued his own run of consistent scores before he was bowled by alex hughes for 49 with the total on 152 in the 18th over.

wessels continued to blaze away in imperious fashion and he had moved onto 130 with 11 sixes and 10 fours when he went for another big hit off his 62nd delivery from spinner matt critchley and fell at wide long on.

worcestershire were then 186-2 in the 23rd over.

saturday’s century hero george rhodes made a breezy 15 before he became critchley’s second victim of the innings and brett d’oliveira was dismissed by the same bowler for seven.

but ferguson ensured there were few alarms for the remainder of the innings.

he did not score a boundary for 34 balls but calmly brought up his half century from 59 deliveries with five fours and then stepped on the accelerator.

the 33-year-old went to his hundred in only 32 more balls and reached the milestone with a pull for four off wayne madsen.

ben cox (20) and ross whiteley (19) provided good support in stands of 46 and 53 before the rapids crossed the finishing line in 48.2 overs.

ferguson remained undefeated and ended with four sixes and seven fours.

josh tongue came back into the side in place of charlie morris who had played the first seven north group games.

pat brown took the new ball and made a breakthrough in the first over when the prolific derbyshire skipper billy godleman – with 509 runs in his previous seven one-day cup innings this season – was caught at first slip by callum ferguson.

but then the second wicket pair of madsen and reece put on 222 in 31 overs.

whiteley ended the stand when madsen, having made 113 off 97 balls with four sixes and 11 fours, was caught behind.

reece was eventually fourth out for 128 with the total on 269, lofting a catch to ferguson at mid-on off wayne parnell.

alex hughes struck 43 off 31 balls before there were a late flurry of wickets.

brown finished with the excellent figures of 10-0-43-1 while the other wicket-takers were parnell (10-0-75-2), barnard (9-0-65-1), d’oliveira (10-0-66-1) and whiteley (6-0-43-1).