ALL-ROUNDER Ed Barnard has lavished praise on young pace bowler Pat Brown after the 20-year-old’s four wickets helped the Worcestershire Rapids to this evening’s Vitality Blast
Outstanding efforts with the bat from Moeen Ali, Ed Barnard and 55 from 34 balls from wicket keeper Ben Cox saw the Rapids rally from a perilous 97-6 with the bat to finish with 169-6 off their 20 overs.
And despite a strong start from the Lightning, Worcestershire made it to this evening’s final on their first appearance at Finals Day with Brown taking 4-21 including three wickets in the penultimate over as Lancashire finished on 149-9.
“I’m so pleased for Browny, he’s worked his backside off and even the way he’s got into cricket he hasn’t taken the easiest way in and I am really proud of him,” he said.
“He’s only two off the record for wickets taken in a Blast campaign so hopefully he can break that in the final.”
“I think the pitch was a lot slower than we thought. That worked in our favour as we had the first hit and we saw what worked with cutters and slower balls.
“I don’t think we performed at our best but we came out on the winning side, so everyone is amazed and really happy,” he added
Having lost the toss, the Rapids were asked to bat first and raced to 37-0 off three overs with Moeen taking a particular liking to the off-spin of Lightning skipper Liam Livingstone whose one over went for 23.
The progress was blunted in the fourth over when Joe Clarke was bowled by Aussie all-rounder James Faulkner. Tom Fell joined Moeen at the crease and the pair serenely moved on to 70-1 before before the Rapids lost three wickets in three balls as Moeen departed caught at long on for a well-made 41 off 21 balls.
Brett D’Oliveira was run out without facing a ball before Fell was stumped for 23 off Parkinson as Lancashire took control of the clash. All-rounder Ross Whiteley fell for four before Daryl Michell was trapped lbw for 6 to leave the Rapids 97-6 and facing an early finish on Finals Day.
However a thrilling 38 ball partnership of 72 between Cox and Barnard saw the Rapids to a respectable target with Cox feasting on the bowling of Toby Lester whose four overs cost 53 overs including three big sixes in the penultimate over.
Alex Davies was run out early in Lancashire’s reply to leave the Lightning 20-1 before some big hitting from Livingstone and Aaron Lilley kept the batting side up with the run-rate.
After Barnard had the Lancashire skipper caught by D’Oliveira running in at point, Moeen introduced himself into the attack and tied the Lancashire line-up down with some accurate bowling.
The slow pitch did for Lilley and Jos Buttler and once Dane Vilas was run out to leave the Lightning 119-5 it looked an uphill task for the men from the north west.
Enter young Brown for the penultimate over of the innings. Lancashire began the over needing 30 to win, by the end they had been ravaged as Brown belied his tender years to produce three wickets in five balls to hand the Rapids the victory.
Faulkner was caught by Mitchell at square leg, Lester was bowled for a duck and Parkinson was caught at long on the next ball to spark joyous scenes.
An unbowed Keaton Jennings reached 50 with a six in the final over but it was a lone hand as the Rapids ensured their day trip to Edgbaston would extend into the evening with a 20 run win.
Speaking after the game, losing skipper Liam Livingstone said: “I think those two overs in our innings cost us the game. When you go for 50 runs in two overs on a pitch which wasn’t a 170 pitch it isn’t ideal.
“The way Moeen played early on they got away from us and then Pat Brown with ball, trying to pick his variations is tough and he’s got a great method which works for him.
Worcestershire will face either Somerset or Sussex in the final which starts at 6.45pm this evening.
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