Sarwan And Taylor Star In Last-Ball Thriller
Leicestershire 217-6 (Sarwan 100) beat
Worcestershire 214-5 (Hughes 57no) by 4 wickets
Group A, Clydesdale Bank 40, Grace Road
Leicestershire’s seventh-wicket pair of Robert Taylor and Will Jones hit 29 off the last two overs to record a thrilling win over Worcestershire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 at Grace Road.
Worcestershire left-armer David Lucas looked to have won the match for his side as his sixth over yielded three wickets, including the key one of Ramnaresh Sarwan for a dazzling 86-ball 100. However, Gareth Andrew’s last over went for 13 as Will Jones played an audacious ramp shot to the first ball he faced to earn a boundary and leave the Foxes needing 16 from the final over.
The visitors were still, at this stage, overwhelming favourites, but Lucas undid all his earlier good work by bowling an above-waist-high full-toss which Taylor clubbed through mid-wicket for four to bring the equation down to 10 from six. Four scurried twos later and Leicestershire were left needing two from the final ball.
Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell brought up all his fielders in an effort to prevent the single and go all out for the win, but Taylor drilled the ball through the covers for four to bring about emotional scenes on the home side’s balcony. The win was the second in two CB40 matches for Josh Cobb since he took over the reins from the club captain Matthew Hoggard and helped them clamber up off the bottom of Group A.
Robert Taylor said after the match that he was confident that he could take his side home and that “we [Leicestershire] knew if we just took it as deep as we could then we had a chance of getting over the line.”
He also paid tribute to Ramnaresh Sarwan’s supreme 100 earlier, which had set up the run chase and whose departure in David Lucas’ sixth over looked to have turned the match Worcestershire’s way.
“Ronnie batted superbly well. It was an unbelievable knock and he showed his class,” said Taylor, “but we knew we had hitters in the locker ... and that we’d get over the line.”
Indeed, Sarwan’s knock was the stand-out innings of the day and was comfortably enough to earn him the man-of-the-match award. The 32 year-old oozed class throughout his innings and the ease with which he was able to rotate the strike was the single factor that marked him out from the rest of the batsmen on show. He brought his century up with a six to rapturous applause from the small but passionate home crowd before being bowled via the outside edge the following ball.
Earlier, Worcestershire’s top five had all batted effectively to lead their team to 214 for five after a two hour rain delay had reduced the contest to 31 overs aside. Moeen Ali drove elegantly through the covers on his way to 40 from 35 balls, while Phil Hughes dropped anchor during an unbeaten 57, and Daryl Mitchell added late impetus with a 29-ball 44. Robert Taylor was the pick of an uninspiring Leicestershire attack, taking two for 26 from six overs, but his starring role was to come about three hours later.
© Cricket World 2012
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