Scotland defeated Worcestershire by 8 runs
The Twenty20 season is not yet under way but Worcestershire might need to brush up on their short game after losing to Scotland in a Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy match reduced to 25 overs per side yesterday.
Play didn't begin in Edinburgh until 2.50pm and under a heavy blanket of mist Worcestershire made inroads with the ball after winning the toss. But the Scots hit back in style to reach 187 for six, thanks to a magnificent unbeaten 88 from Australian Corey Richards.
Asked to score at seven-and-a-half an over to win, Worcestershire were always marginally in the shade of the run rate and needed 18 off the last over. Graeme Hick completed a half-century off 41 balls but the visitors could only scramble nine more runs to lose by eight.
It was a miserable day for batting but in any light the Scottish total would have been formidable. The underdogs fully deserved their win after two crushing defeats to Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire last week.
Asked to get 188, Worcestershire openers Vikram Solanki and Stephen Moore struggled against the swinging ball early on but saw off the opening bowlers, only for Moore to be stumped off the first ball of Scotland captain Craig Wright's spell. The gloveman, Colin Smith, then added a fine reaction catch standing up to Ian Moran to get rid of Ben Smith.
While Solanki was there Worcestershire still looked well placed. But when he fell for 61 to a sharp return catch by Ryan Watson, the asking rate suddenly looked more daunting.
Roger Sillence took note of the situation and struck 20 off nine balls before going for one heave too many and losing off stump to Watson's medium pace. That over went for 21 but after it Worcestershire still needed 56 off the last nine.
Left-arm spinner Ross Lyons, 21, should have had Kabir Ali stumped but when he completed a restrictive spell of 0-26 off five overs the county side needed 36 off three. They never again looked like getting close.
Scotland's innings had seemed to be petering out at 77 for five but it was turned on its head by a lusty sixth-wicket partnership of 92 between the Saltires' overseas play-ers, Sydney grade stars Richards and Moran.
Danger man Watson was caught at mid-on in the first over trying to charge Zaheer Khan, and a brilliant spell of one for 8 off three overs by Ali had the Scots reeling. The England bowler was rewarded when Hick held a brilliant catch at second slip to snare Dougie Lockhart.
Sillence and Ray Price each grabbed a wicket and Nadeem Malik joined them when Gavin Hamilton played on for a second-ball duck. But Moran, coming in at No 7, stepped up to the plate in fine style to support the dominant Richards.
The pair swept Price beautifully and dealt brutally with the slower balls of Sillence, profiting from straight drives and flicks through mid-wicket. When Ali and Zaheer returned, even they couldn't escape the Australians' whirring blades.
Richards drove Ali through the covers to muddy his clean figures, but the bowler hit back by running out Moran for 42 with a direct hit off his own bowling.
By then much of the damage had been done, but Richards wasn't finished.
The last over, bowled by Zaheer, went for 17 as Paul Hoffmann struck a huge six and Richards signed off with another maximum, a steered pull over fine leg into the beer tent. It allowed him to finish with 88 not out off 70 balls. ..SUPL: