Northamptonshire 252 (Taylor 100) was defeated by seven wickets by Worcestershire 253 for 3 (Jones 122, Libby 82*).
Worcestershire Rapids defeated Northamptonshire at Wantage Road for their fourth Metro Bank One Day Cup victory of the year thanks to Rob Jones’ outstanding 122 from 126 balls, his first List A century. In a third-wicket record partnership for Worcestershire against Northamptonshire, Jones and Jake Libby (82) added 194 runs in precisely 31 overs as they successfully chased down 253 in 43.1 overs with seven wickets remaining.
After Northamptonshire centurion Tom Taylor claimed two early wickets, the pair calmed the Rapids’ fears. They kept pace with the run rate by pushing the ball into the spaces early on and mainly ignoring risk after that. They were given three more lives by Northamptonshire’s fielders as they began to accelerate, but they otherwise appeared unaffected the entire time. Jones drove and pulled the seamers hard while hitting 12 fours and three sixes while lofting Simon Kerrigan down the pitch frequently.
Taylor had just saved the Steelbacks from a precarious 139 for 7 with a superb 100 from 80 balls, his second century of the year. Dillon Pennington had taken three for 47.
The in-form Steelbacks all-rounder put on 108 with James Sales (25), smashing 14 fours and one huge six onto the roof of the Turner Stand, but he also made smart shot choices, finding the gaps and hitting the ball cleanly. Northamptonshire lost three middle-order wickets for 18 runs, all to shots drilled straight to fielders.
Prior to the game, Prithvi Shaw, the tournament’s top run-scorer, suffered a knee injury and was forced to miss the rest of the season, significantly diminishing Northamptonshire’s chances. The injury occurred during the county’s victory over Durham on Sunday, and it belonged to the Indian international who scored a club record 244 against Somerset the previous week. The team learned from the scan findings received this morning that the damage was more serious than first thought.
Ricardo Vasconcelos made 25 when he edged low to Josh Baker at second slip, becoming Pennington’s second victim after Northamptonshire lost two early wickets while batting.
As the runs progressed, Jones started to shoot, and Libby also discovered the boundary ropes.
In a partnership of 49, Rob Keogh and Luke Procter started to rebuild. Logan van Beek struck Keogh in the helmet, but Keogh appeared unfazed. He clipped off van Beek’s legs and brought Pat Brown to the ropes. However, he was easily defeated when he drove a loose ball from Brown to the point on the 35th hole. In his subsequent over, Brown struck once more when Justin Broad hammered him to mid-off.
Having driven skillfully, Luke Procter (31), timed two late cuts behind square off one van Beek over. He attempted to knock the ball over the inner circle, but, after getting a blood rush, he ran down the track to Baker and picked out Gareth Roderick, who made a nice catch above his head.
In a stand of 34, Taylor and Luke McManus (15) made an effort to calm the ship. After removing Baker off the field for six, McManus approached Waite and yorked himself as Waite’s leg-stump was overturned, putting Northamptonshire in serious difficulty at 139 for seven.
Taylor entered the field and timed the ball perfectly, hitting Baker back over his head, dismissively drawing Waite and Pennington, hitting Brown to the ground, and expertly sweeping the spinners.
Sales crossed one early boundary but was pleased to support Taylor until Pennington trapped him in the LBW position. Then, in the penultimate over, Van Beek struck twice to end the inning, leaving Taylor as the lone out, caught at long-off.
When it was determined that Roderick had chopped the ball onto his pads before it rebounded to Gay, who grabbed the catch at second slip, Taylor scored in the first over of the chase.
Before playing one huge shot too many and getting caught at a deep backward square leg off Taylor, Ed Pollock had some fun pounding the ground.
In their first 50 runs together as they rebuilt, Jones and Libby only managed three boundaries, but they maintained a run rate over five the entire time, moving closer to their aim with relative ease. Jones began to shoot, and as the runs continued, Libby too found the boundary ropes.
Northamptonshire brought in the field and switched around their bowlers, but they gave the Rapids three opportunities to win that proved costly. After being dropped by McManus on play number 29, Libby saw another lucky break on play number 60 when Gay laid an easy opportunity at mid-off off Kerrigan. On 77, Broad put down Jones after he had bowled himself. Before finally falling, trapped in the deep off Kerrigan, he made the most of the opportunity by climbing to three figures. Before Libby hit the winning run, a huge six from Kashif Ali had Worcestershire on the verge of victory.
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