Bears maul Worcestershire
Warwickshire turned the tables on local rivals Worcestershire with a surprisingly comfortable Friends Life t20 Midlands/Wales/West Group victory at New Road.
After losing both derby meetings in last season’s competition, they overhauled the Royals’ 120 for seven to win by eight wickets with 21 balls to spare.
Darren Maddy and Varun Chopra made light work of the task with sensible but positive batting in an unbroken partnership of 83 in 11 overs.
Unlike their neighbours, who regularly lost wickets going for the big shots, Warwickshire were able to establish momentum despite losing Rikki Clarke and Jim Troughton in reaching 50 by the eighth over.
Clarke hit a towering six off Jack Shantry before launching one into Gareth Andrew’s hands at mid-on and there was no danger that Moeen Ali would repeat Warwickshire’s success against their off-spinner, Jeetan Patel.
Maddy, who made an unbeaten 39, cleared the rope twice in an over from the all-rounder and Chopra progressed at an even pace until his fifth four won the match and took him to an unbeaten 49 from 48 balls.
A slow pitch strangled the stroke players and rewarded bowlers who took the pace off the ball.
The home side started well enough against Warwickshire’s opening attack. Moeen was the only casualty after he was run out for 13 by Chopra’s direct hit from midwicket and the Royals reached 46 in just seven overs.
However, the innings stalled when Patel and medium pacer Steffan Piolet shared three top-order wickets while rushing through eight overs together for a miserly 36 runs.
Vikram Solanki, having hit three fours and a six in his 32, instigated a succession of catches on the boundary edge when finding Keith Barker at long-on and Phil Hughes hardly had time to get going before he was leg-before to Patel.
Only Daryl Mitchell was able to raise the tempo with 25 from 19 deliveries. A cover drive off Maddy brought the first boundary in 55 balls and he also drove consecutive fours off Barker before he was leg-before to the left-arm seamer.