Vitality Blast 2020
Sun 13 September, 13:00

Blackfinch New Road, Worcester

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Worcestershire Rapids

Worcestershire Rapids

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Worcestershire Rapids


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Vitality Blast Report: Worcestershire Rapids v Bears

Sam Hain hit a 30-ball half century as Birmingham Bears stepped up their bid to reach the knockout stages of the Vitality Blast with a six wicket success over local rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Blackfinch New Road.

The Bears chased down a 179 target with five balls to spare as they secured a third successive win in the competition.

They also lifted the Norman Gifford Trophy which the two counties compete for each season in the T20 format.

Defeat effectively ended the Rapids slim hopes of qualification for the quarter-finals after a fifth setback in their last six games.

Jake Libby continued his excellent form in all formats by top-scoring with 63 but the Rapids lost momentum in the latter part of their innings with Henry Brookes bowling a wicket maiden in the 19th over.

Hain ended unbeaten on 73 from 44 balls with three sixes and five fours as the Bears paced their innings to perfection.

Both sides made one change with the Bears handing batsman Rob Yates his T20 debut in place of Ed Pollock and the Rapids bringing Dillon Pennington back for fellow paceman Adam Finch.

The Rapids, fresh from their first win of the season against Somerset on Friday, again opted to bat first and Hamish Rutherford collected two boundaries in Ollie Stone’s first over.

But the England paceman broke through in his second over when Riki Wessels (10) moved across his stumps and was plumb lbw trying to work to leg.

New batsman Libby was soon into his stride with three fours in Henry Brookes first over and added 59 in six over with Rutherford.

The New Zealander had made 41 off 32 balls with five boundaries when he lofted the returning Stone over cover but departed to a fine low catch on the boundary by Dominic Sibley.

Libby went into overdrive during the remainder of the over with a six over deep mid wicket and a cut and pull which flew to the boundary.

The former Nottinghamshire batsman reached an excellent half century off 29 balls with nine fours.

Cox continued the fine form he had shown in scoring his first T20 half century for two years at Taunton after again being promoted to number four. He drilled Jacob Lintott over the long off boundary and cleared the ropes at backward square off Bresnan.

Libby advanced to 63 before being bowled aiming a drive in the penultimate over at Brookes who achieved the unusual feat at such a late stage of an innings in T20 cricket of bowling a maiden.

New batsman Ross Whiteley could not connect with a mixture of pacey and slower deliveries from the remaining five balls of the over. 

He did manage to hit a six in the final over from Stone before being bowled for 12 as the Rapids closed on 178-4. Stone ended with 3-45 with Brookes – 1-21 off three overs – the other wicket-taker.

Charlie Morris had dismissed Babar Azam with his first delivery at Taunton and repeated his performance by having Dominic Sibley (0) caught at mid off from the opening ball of the Bears reply.

But debutant Yates, who has played in all five Bob Willis Trophy matches, instantly looked at home and struck three sixes in his quickfire 29.

Pat Brown broke through when Yates went for a pull and edged through to Cox after adding 54 with Adam Hose.

But the Bears seized the initiative in an opening over from Brett D’Oliveira which cost 22 runs with the leg spinner hit for sixes by Hose and new batsman Sam Hain.

Hose, having raced to 43 off 25 balls, gave the home side a ray of hope when he swept Ed Barnard into the hands of Libby at backward square leg.

The Rapids were unable to stem the flow of runs although Will Rhodes (18) was needlessly run out attempting a quick single to Barnard at mid off. Hain made sure there would be no late alarms with two sixes in the 18th over from Pennington.

Vitality Blast Preview: Worcestershire Rapids v Bears

Will Rhodes believes the Bears have become a “dangerous team” in the Vitality Blast as he prepares to lead them against old rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Blackfinch New Road on Sunday (1pm).

The Bears’ T20 campaign has been ignited by back-to-back wins over Somerset and Glamorgan. Another victory tomorrow would send them into the last three games very much on the front foot in the race for qualification for the quarter finals.

The Rapids’ victory over Somerset last night also kept their qualification hopes alive, so both sides have everything to play for. Rhodes says his fast-improving team ‘can’t wait’.

“Whenever you get back-to-back wins, confidence starts to flow and you become a dangerous team,” he said. “We have some dangerous players coming into form at the right time.

“A performance in the field like we put in last night can only give us a lot of confidence going into the business end of the group. We were a little bit short of where we wanted to be runs-wise, but the guys bowled and fielding brilliantly. We just can’t wait for the game to come tomorrow.

Will Rhodes

“Worcestershire’s win keeps them in the competition so, while you never need any extra incentive to be up for a Bears v Pears game, it’s all set up for a really tasty affair.

“In the last couple of games we have held our nerve at times when things were going against us and we’ve come through and won and that’s the sign of a good team. I think there is a big performance from us around the corner.”

The Bears sit third in the Central Group after three wins, two defeats and a washout. As so often in their T20 cricket over the years, spin-bowling has been influential, only this time Bears legend Jeetan Patel, while still highly effective, has so far been overshadowed by newly-signed wrist-spinner Jake Lintott whose figures in this season’s tournament are a remarkable 15-0-65-7.

 “I think Jeets is quite happy with that,” said Rhodes. “For the last five or six years all the pressure has been on Jeets to deliver but now it means he can just quietly go about his business. With both of them so skilful and dangerous, they are really a force to be reckoned with.”

Watch Live

The live stream for the Worcestershire Rapids game at Blackfinch New Road is available exclusively to Club Members as per the terms of Worcestershire CCC’s live stream programme.

Warwickshire Members have been sent an email with details of how to register for this live stream.

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