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A Tough Night with the Wet Worcestershire Rapids

Worcestershire Rapids broke the only unbeaten record in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast and moved clear at the top of the North Group when beating Northamptonshire Steelbacks by Worcestershire by 3 wickets at New Road.

Wicketkeeper Ben Cox followed up three catches in Northamptonshire’s 169 for seven by taking the nine runs wanted from the last over in three balls from Mohammad Azharullah – a reverse paddle for four, a pull for four and a single into the covers.

Cox finished unbeaten with 42 from 24 balls, having turned the match in his team’s favour after going in at 102 for five, but it seemed that Worcestershire had lost their best chance when Tom Kohler-Cadmore was dismissed for 60 by Rob Keogh’s juggling act on the deep extra cover boundary. Keogh, who previously held a one-handed catch at mid-off from Brett D’Oliveira (37) knocked the ball before completing the catch.

Both sides were handicapped by constant drizzle and poor light in Worcestershire’s innings and at first the game was tilting towards Northants when Azharullah took two wickets in an over to leave the home side teetering on 20 for three. Earlier, Ben Duckett’s first half-century of the season in the competition was crucial to setting up a challenging total for the Steeelbacks.

Duckett went on to reach his 50 from 34 balls after hitting three sixes and four fours but without addition to his score he was seventh out at 140, bowled by Joe Leach as Worcestershire’s acting captain finished with three for 46.

Wickets fell on a regular basis on a sluggish surface, although Alex Wakely (20), Josh Cobb (23) and Keogh (22) all had time to deal in some heavy blows.

Head coach David Ripley said: “I think it’s just one of those games with fine margins. It is T20 cricket – and the Duckworth-Lewis was a good gauge. One minute we were ahead, then they’re ahead and all of a sudden it was 30 wanted off three overs and I thought we were ahead.

Keogh’s catch (to dismiss Kohler-Cadmore) looked like it might swing it our way but some pretty fine cricket shots from Ben Cox gave Worcester the win.”

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