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County are off to a flyer
WORCESTERSHIRE made a flying start to their Friends Life t20 campaign by dominating local rivals Gloucestershire in a clinical 47-run victory at New Road.
Steve Rhodes’ men gained immediate revenge for their 109-run Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat to their neighbours a week previously.
The hosts piled up 213-2 — their fourth highest t20 total — thanks to impressive half-centuries from Moeen Ali and Phil Hughes, while Gareth Andrew waded in with a swashbuckling cameo of 32 off 19 balls late on.
An efficient bowling display followed as Gloucestershire were restricted to 166 all out with Jack Shantry picking up four wickets, alongside disciplined spells from Dave Lucas and Andrew.
Vikram Solanki and Moeen got Worcestershire off to a flying start, putting on 48 for the first wicket before the former was bowled by a James Fuller full-toss that hit the top of off-stump.
Moeen and Hughes then put on 100 for the second wicket, with the pair of left-handers regularly peppering the crowd with towering sixes.
Hughes was handed a lifeline when he was on 37 as Ed Young put down a simple chance, while Moeen cantered to his half-century off just 27 balls.
Having hit eight fours and four sixes in his superb 82, Moeen was bowled by Kane Williamson, but Andrew joined Hughes to continue the carnage and take Worcestershire past 200.
All-rounder Andrew hit the last ball for four as the New Road side posted an imposing 213-2 with Hughes unbeaten on 78 from just 48 balls.
Gloucestershire were always facing a difficult challenge, but some lusty early blows from opener Hamish Marshall (43) caused the home side a few problems.
However, when the former New Zealand international was caught by wicketkeeper Ben Scott off Andrew with the visitors’ total on 52, it was the beginning of the end.
Benny Howell was the first man out when he was caught by James Cameron off the impressive Shantry, while some sharp fielding from Brett D’Oliveira accounted for Ian Cockbain with a direct hit.
Shantry then removed Alex Gidman and Jack Taylor in successive balls as Gloucestershire slumped to 87-5.
Kane Williamson (37) and James Fuller (36) gave the visitors a glimmer of hope with a 42-run partnership, but that was ended by a superb piece of fielding by Solanki.
Williamson pulled a delivery from Daryl Mitchell and it looked to be going for six, but the former New Road skipper leapt into the air and took an excellent one-handed catch.