Moeen leads Worcestershire to victory
Worcestershire carved out an emphatic seven-wicket victory against Essex in their Clydesdale Bank40 Group A battle at Chelmsford, reaching their target of 191 with six overs to spare.
In reply to Essex’s innings of 190 for nine, Moeen Ali followed up an economical spell of bowling with a magnificent 99 before he was dismissed with the visitors just eight runs from their target.
Vikram Solanki shared the batting limelight with Moeen as the pair put together an opening century partnership without looking in the slightest trouble.
Indeed, they looked so comfortable that it came as something of a surprise when Solanki was bowled by left-arm spinner Tim Phillips with the total on 104 in the 17th over.
Solanki had struck seven fours when he was dismissed two short of his half-century from the 52nd ball he received. But Moeen went on to underline his class before pulling Alviro Petersen into the hands of Greg Smith at deep midwicket. His total came from 98 balls with the help of seven fours and three sixes.
Earlier, Essex failed to make use of the solid foundations laid by openers Alastair Cook and Mark Pettini. They had put on 84 when, in the 17th over, Cook was run out after being called through for a single.
Before he could complete it, Daryl Mitchell threw down the stumps from midwicket to bring the England opener’s innings of 47 to an end. It contained eight fours and spanned 58 balls.
Pettini went on to make 64 from 76 deliveries with the help of two sixes and two fours but he was caught in the deep attacking off-spinner Moeen to leave Essex 143 for five.
Either side of Pettini’s departure, batsmen struggled to come to terms with some accurate bowling backed up by fine work in the field.
David Lucas, James Cameron and Moeen each displayed safe hands in the deep as Essex perished in an attempt to break free, with slow left-armer Shaaiq Choudhry being largely responsible for the decline of the innings.
The medium-paced Jack Shantry picked up 2-48 from eight overs, whilst Choudhry claimed 2-37. But it was Moeen who proved the most economical with Pettini’s wicket at a cost of 27 runs from his full allocation.
As later events were to confirm, their efforts were well rewarded as Worcestershire atoned from their nine wickets defeat by Netherlands a week ago.