Report: Worcestershire Rapids v Bears, Vitality Blast
Worcestershire Rapids claimed their first victory of the season in the Vitality Blast after Brett D’Oliveira hit a competition best 71 in a 15 run success over the Bears at New Road.
The opener struck three sixes and six fours from just 38 balls as the Rapids amassed 217-5 – their fifth highest ever T20 total. D’Oliveira was given superb support by Jack Haynes, with a 22 ball half century, and Colin Munro after the Bears had put the home side into bat.
Then a three wicket burst with the new ball by Dillon Pennington had the Bears on the back foot. Only Sam Hain looked capable of pulling the game out of the fire as the Bears closed on 202-8.
Moeen Ali, fresh from being awarded an OBE, returned to lead Worcestershire for the first time this season after a short break following his spell in the IPL with the Chennai Super Kings.
D’Oliveira got the Rapids innings off to an explosive start on a hybrid pitch with 20 runs off the first over from Paul Stirling. He hit the first three balls for four and then straight drove the final delivery for a huge six.
Ed Pollock was equally destructive as he faced his former county for the first time and the 50 came up in four overs. Craig Miles broke the stand when Pollock went for a pull and feathered a catch through to the keeper.
Moeen, in his first Rapids appearance since last June, hammered Danny Briggs for six over long on before being caught behind off Bears skipper Carlos Brathwaite.
But D’Oliveira galloped to a 29 ball half century and achieved his career best score before he drilled Jake Lintott to cover. Munro and Haynes maintained the momentum for the Rapids with a stand of 56 in 4.5 overs.
Munro maintained the form which had brought him two half centuries in his first three appearances with powerful hitting in making 41 from 21 deliveries.
He was eventually caught behind off Brathwaite but Haynes produced some wonderfully clean striking in completing a 22 ball half century with four sixes and four fours. Stirling seemed determined to make amends for his performance with the ball as he smashed 22 from the first over by Moeen.
But Pennington, restored to the side after a two game absence, swung the game Worcestershire’s way.
He had Jacob Bethell and Stirling caught behind and at short third man respectively in his first over and then in his next Alex Davies aimed a blow over mid wicket and fell to a fine catch by Haynes running back.
But Josh Baker broke the stand in his first over with D’Oliveira holding onto an excellent low catch at deep square leg to dismiss Hose. He then had Chris Benjamin (27) caught behind and Brathwaite (5) was run out by Bravo’s throw to the non striker’s end.
Hain (45) holed out to deep mid wicket off Ed Barnard and Bravo’s debut wicket came when he bowled Brookes.