Moeen heroics help Worcestershire to victory
An outstanding all-round performance by Moeen Ali ensured Worcestershire Royals ended their Friends Life t20 campaign in style with a 37-run victory against Midlands/Wales/West Group winners Northants Steelbacks.
Moeen blasted 72 off just 45 balls, including 40 off the last 11 deliveries he faced, as the already-eliminated Royals posted an imposing 182 for six.
The Steelbacks, whose quarter-final place was already assured, fell well short of their target with Moeen returning career-best FLt20 figures of 5-34 to inflict the hosts' first home defeat in the competition.
Worcestershire chose to bat and Ben Cox was the first to fall in the seventh over, trapped lbw by Matthew Spriegel after making 27.
Alexei Kervezee was then caught and bowled by the same man five balls later before the Royals' captain Daryl Mitchell was run out on 19 by his Northants counterpart Alex Wakely at extra cover.
But Moeen was to guide his side towards an impressive total by surging past 50 off 39 balls, although he eventually holed out when smashing Steven Crook to Australia international Cameron White at long-on.
That broke up a 55-run stand off just four overs with Olly Stone then taking out the leg stump of Moeen's partner Ross Whiteley.
Stone's yorker then sent Gareth Andrew's middle stump spinning to dismiss him on 19 in the penultimate over.
Chasing 183, the Steelbacks started confidently with Richard Levi plundering 31 off 23 balls before launching Moeen to Kervezee at deep midwicket to break an opening partnership of 54 with Kyle Coetzer.
Coetzer followed tamely for 23 when he was taken by Mitchell at midwicket off Moeen, who then bowled Wakely for 17.
The off-spinner claimed his fourth wicket in four overs when his delivery clipped Crook's off stump before completing his first-ever five-wicket haul in FLt20 cricket as Cox stumped Spriegel.
With the match slipping away, Northants lost White for 30 when he hammered Brett D'Oliveira to Charlie Morris at long-off with two overs left, but a quarter-final at Wantage Road awaits next week.
See also:FLt20, July 30: As it happened