WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids edged closer to the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast as they brushed aside Durham Jets by five wickets at New Road.
The Rapids have now won seven of their opening 10 games and cemented second spot in the North Group after triumphing with one over to spare, leaving them three points clear of third placed Northamptonshire Steelbacks and four ahead of Lancashire Lightning, the Jets and Leicestershire Foxes.
An excellent all-round bowling and fielding display in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday (July 5) restricted Durham to 127-9 in their 20 overs after skipper Daryl Mitchell put them into bat.
Joe Leach made the first breakthrough when Jets skipper Mark Stoneman (12) was caught at mid wicket by Mitchell, then a brilliant throw and direct hit from Brett D’Oliveira at backward point accounted for Calum MacLeod (17) who was run out.
Saeed Ajmal’s return to the attack was the signal for wickets to start tumbling with a burst of three in five balls with Paul Collingwood (16) and John Hastings (0) both being caught by Richard Oliver at long on and in between Phil Mustard (35) went for a sweep and was caught by Barnard at short fine leg.
Gordon Muchall (17) was run out by Mitchell’s throw from cover and Usman Arshad (0) was bowled by Jack Shantry, before Ryan Pringle (23) was run out by Colin Munro’s throw from the cover boundary going for a second run and Keaton Jennings (0) was yorked by Joe Leach in the final over.
Despite flashes of lighting when Rapids came into bat, the rain stayed away and Oliver picked up an unbeaten 70 from 57 balls with 11 fours which was the bedrock of the Rapids reply.
Mitchell (2) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (11) were bowled by Chris Rushworth and Collingwood respectively, while Munro (1) tried to reverse sweep Pringle and was caught by Collingwood at backward point.
D’Oliveira (13) was bowled by Rushworth and Ross Whiteley (12) was bowled by Borthwick but Oliver and Ben Cox, with successive fours off Hastings, saw the Rapids to the finishing line.
It wraps up a successful weekend in the T20 after defeating Nottinghamshire Outlaws by 20 runs at Trent Bridge on Friday (July 3).
Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s career best 75 was the backbone of the Rapids 173 all out before an all-round excellent bowling and fielding display restricted the Outlaws to 153-9.
Leach picked up (3-27) in three overs and Ajmal (2-33) in four, not allowing any of the Outlaws to reach the half century mark.
The Rapids next T20 game is the sell-out top of the table clash against Birmingham Bears on Friday (July 10) from 5.30pm at New Road.