Rapids fi­nally end wait for fi­nals day

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - CRICKET -

CRICKET: Worcestershire ended 15 years of T20 heartache af­ter beat­ing Glouces­ter­shire by five wick­ets in a tense, lows­cor­ing Vi­tal­ity Blast quar­ter­fi­nal at New Road.

Af­ter five de­feats at the knock­out stage, the Rapids will make their first ap­pear­ance on Fi­nals Day at Edg­bas­ton on Septem­ber 15, leav­ing Der­byshire as the only county not to have fea­tured in the T20 show­piece.

Cal­lum Fer­gu­son, with the only half-cen­tury of the match, steered the hosts through a nervy start and reached an un­beaten 64 from 47 balls as Worcestershire over­hauled Glouces­ter­shire’s 136-8 with eight balls to spare.

What was a com­fort­able mar­gin in the end was not look­ing likely when three Glouces­ter­shire seam­ers each took a wicket in their first over.

Moeen Ali was leg-be­fore to Matt Tay­lor’s first ball, Joe Clarke holed out to mid-wicket from AJ Tye’s fourth de­liv­ery and Brett D’Oliveira found mid­wicket from Benny How­ell’s sec­ond.

Worcestershire had one more wob­ble when Ben Cox chipped How­ell to mid-wicket, but Ross White­ley (20) helped re­lease the pres­sure in a 52-run part­ner­ship.

In the cru­cial 16th over bowled by David Payne, White­ley hit two sixes and the to­tal was topped up by two wides and two no-balls un­til the left-han­der was caught at deep cover from what was the 10th de­liv­ery.

Fer­gu­son then en­sured there were no late wob­ble.

Glouces­ter­shire’s bat­ting was dis­tinctly top heavy, the dis­par­ity be­ing such that the first three in the or­der, Miles Ham­mond (45), Michael Klinger (24) and Ian Cock­bain (35), were re­spon­si­ble for more than three-quar­ters of the to­tal.

As soon as Worcestershire took pace off the ball, five wick­ets were shared by D’Oliveira, the leg-spin­ner record­ing his com­pe­ti­tion-best of 4-26, and Daryl Mitchell, with his un­der­rated cut­ters caus­ing prob­lems in a spell of 1-15.

Yet Glouces­ter­shire had promised so much against the quicker bowlers. Ham­mond looked set for a sec­ond 50 in the com­pe­ti­tion as his clean strik­ing brought five fours and two sixes, un­til he was tempted into an un­nec­es­sary risk when opt­ing for the re­verse sweep and fall­ing lbw to Mitchell.

From there it quickly be­came a pro­ces­sion. Klinger picked out Barnard in D’Oliveira’s first over and in no time half the side had gone for 97.

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