8:29pm Friday 6th June 2014
WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids skipper Daryl Mitchell led his side to a third successive win in the NatWest T20 Blast with a sparkling half-century in the five-wicket success over Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road.
The Rapids were set a challenging 165 target on a slow pitch after the Foxes had elected to bat.
But Mitchell reproduced the stunning form he has shown in the LV = County Championship to guide the Rapids home with four balls to spare, as the 30-year-old finished unbeaten on 67 from 50 balls with six fours and one six.
Leicestershire opener Niall O’Brien had an early scare when he was adjudged to have just made his ground in the first over from Jack Shantry after taking a quick single with Brett D’Oliveira’s throw shattering the stumps.
Josh Cobb lofted Shantry for two sixes in his second over, but then Chris Russell was rewarded with a double success after switching ends.
First Shantry pulled off a superb one-handed leaping catch at mid off to dismiss Cobb (27) and then O’Brien (15) pulled Russell straight to Mitchell at mid-wicket.
It became 90-3 when Mitchell held onto a return catch from Greg Smith (24) and on the same total Ned Eckersley (24) chipped Colin Munro to Mitchell at extra cover, before Saeed Ajmal struck with successive balls.
Scott Styris (27) was caught on the cover boundary by Richard Oliver and then Rob Taylor was adjudged lbw for a duck.
Some lusty late blows at the expense of Russell from Tom Wells (45 not out) lifted the Foxes up to a challenging 164-6 in their 20 overs.
Oliver gave the Rapids’ innings a quickfire start with three boundaries in the opening over from Jigar Naik. But, having scored 22 out of 26, Oliver was bowled by Ben Raine in the third over.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore made a rapid 23 before he played the paddle sweep against Naik and was caught around the corner by Nathan Buck.
Colin Munro showed his liking for spinner James Sykes with two towering straight sixes in an over costing 19 runs as the Rapids reached 90-2 by the half-way stage.
The 100 came up in the next over but Munro, on 32 from just 18 balls, was caught at third man by Naik off Buck.
Worcestershire needed 34 off the last five overs with seven wickets in hand.
Alexei Kervezee (7) drilled Taylor into the hands of Cobb at extra-cover, but Mitchell reached his 50 off 41 balls with four boundaries.
Ross Whitely (13) succumbed to Raine in the penultimate over, but Mitchell ensured there were no late scares with a six off the first ball of the final over from Taylor.
A lofted straight four off the next delivery sealed victory.
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