Worcestershire punish Northants
Worcestershire registered their first Friends Life t20 win of the season following another batting failure by Northamptonshire.
For the third time in four matches the Steelbacks failed to reach 150 and, after their latest struggle to 134 for nine, they inevitably paid the price as the Royals strolled home by seven wickets at New Road.
Following Vikram Solanki’s departure in Jack Brooks’ second over, Moeen Ali and Alexei Kervezee put on 85 in 11 overs for the hosts despite batting through bad light and rain.
Moeen picked up six fours in a 45-ball half-century and when Kervezee smashed a six and a four in James Middlebrook’s final over, the target was down to 41 from 36 deliveries.
There was only a minor a blip when Johan Botha took two wickets in two balls. David Murphy stumped Moeen for 53 off a leg-side wide and Shakib Al Hasan was lbw before Gareth Andrew managed to survive the South African’s hat-trick attempt.
In the end Worcestershire had two overs to spare as Kervezee reached an unbeaten 44 from 34 balls and Andrew smashed a couple of sixes in making 21 not out from 15.
A slow pitch served Worcestershire’s game plan as their trio of spinners tied down Northants with the exception of Alex Wakely. The whole innings included only 15 fours – seven of these to Wakely in a t20-best 62 from 45 balls.
The former England Under-19 batsman steadied the ship after a sticky start in which Jack Shantry knocked over openers Andrew Hall and Chaminda Vaas in a tidy spell of 2-12 from three overs.
To make matters worse for Northants, David Sales had to retire with a hamstring injury after facing only seven balls, but Wakely and former Worcestershire batsman Stephen Peters made some progress by adding 49 together, of which Peters contributed 22.
The spinners then took control with two wickets for Shaaiq Choudhry and one for Moeen before Shakib finished off with three in the space of five balls in the final over.
The Bangladesh left-armer withstood an attempted bombardment with the help of two catches on the boundary by Moeen and another by Solanki at deep midwicket as Wakely fell to the last ball of the innings.