Cameron helps Royals up to third
James Cameron top-scored with 37 as Worcestershire moved into third place in the Friends Life t20 North Group with a six-run victory over Warwickshire in a low-scoring contest at New Road.
The Royals seemed set for a fourth consecutive defeat after making only 112 for seven, despite Cameron’s cameo, but a vulnerable-looking total proved to be enough as Warwickshire’s batsmen continued to struggle two days after being dismissed for 129 by Derbyshire.
Only a late effort by Tim Ambrose, the former England wicketkeeper top-scoring with an unbeaten 27, kept them in contention. However, 12 from the last over was too much against a bowler of Saeed Ajmal’s quality.
The Pakistan off-spinner maintained his nerveless level of control, finishing with 1-19 from four overs after denying Ambrose and Steffan Piolet even a sniff of a boundary as Warwickshire pulled up short on 106 for eight.
Worcestershire’s mixture of spin and medium pace was perfectly suited to the conditions. Left-arm seamer Jack Shantry took a couple of early wickets and skipper Daryl Mitchell brilliantly ran out Will Porterfield after the Ireland captain had hit four fours in his 17.
With both teams on losing streaks, tight bowling and a slow surface conspired to shackle batsmen lacking in touch or confidence.
Yet if the match failed to deliver a glut of runs, the drama of the closing overs held the attention of a near-capacity crowd.
Worcestershire mustered only eight boundaries - seven fours and a six - in their total as they fell short of 150 for the fourth match in a row.
Openers Jack Manuel and Moeen Ali departed in the space of three balls and, although Alexei Kervezee and Shakib Al Hasan - whose 21 was his highest score in 11 innings in this season’s competition - scrambled 32 together, another clutch of wickets left Worcestershire in a dire position at 73 for six.
It was only a defiant knock from Cameron that gave them sufficient runs to be able to apply pressure on Warwickshire.
The left-hander cleared the fence at midwicket off Darren Maddy but sensibly concentrated on steady accumulation until he was caught at deep square-leg in the final over.