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Jayasuriya sparkles in Royals win

Friends Life t20

Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya hit a wonderful half-century as Worcestershire earned a much-needed win over Northamptonshire

Sanath Jayasuriya smashed a dazzling 87 as Worcestershire Royals ended a grim run of defeats with a crushing nine-wicket win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Friends Provident t20 at New Road.

After losing their previous six North Group games, the Royals stormed to their 141-run target with 34 balls to spare.

Jayasuriya, whose three previous knocks since arriving at New Road had yielded just 21 runs, smacked five sixes and 10 fours off 45 balls.

The 40-year-old Sri Lankan was backed up by Australian Phil Jaques, who ended unbeaten on 47 - which contained one six and five fours off 41 deliveries.

They put on 138 in 14.1 overs before Jayasuriya was caught at deep square-leg by David Willey off Nicky Boje.

Worcestershire, however, remain bottom of the table while it was only Northamptonshire’s second defeat in their last six outings.

The Steelbacks, after winning the toss, were restricted to 140 for five with Royals spinner Moeen Ali taking a career-best 3-25.

Northamptonshire lost their first wicket off the first ball of the third over when former New Road campaigner Chaminda Vaas was smartly run out by a diving underarm throw from James Cameron off Jack Shantry.

It was an important wicket for the hosts, particularly as Vaas top-scored with 54 when his side won by 21 runs in the corresponding fixture on June 11.

The Steelbacks’ unspectacular start to their innings was largely down to the Royals’ left-arm paceman Shantry, whose opening three overs, including a maiden, cost a mere six runs.

Niall O’Brien and Alex Wakely, however, stayed together to take the visitors to the 50-mark in the ninth over.

Their partnership was worth 49 in seven-and-a-half overs before Wakely drove Moeen to Richard Jones at long-on for 31.

Shortly afterwards Jones was unable to hold an awkward chance at long-off to dismiss O’Brien when he was on 23.

He moved on to 34 before becoming the first of two wickets in successive deliveries for Moeen, who also accounted for David Sales.

Rob White fell cheaply to Jayasuriya before Northamptonshire moved into three figures in the 17th over.

They were then given a valuable lift by Elton Chigumbura, who cracked an undefeated 39 off 20 balls - including three sixes and two fours.