Worcestershire Retain Pro40 Status With Huge Win

Worcestershire 186-6 (Solanki 53, Moeen Ali 52, Gillespie 2-28) beat
Glamorgan 83 all out (Batty 4-14, Harris 3-7, Fernando 3-20) by 103 runs
NatWest Pro40 Play-Off, Cardiff 

Worcestershire retained their Pro40 First Division status by bowling out Glamorgan for 83, the lowest score the county had ever managed in 40 over cricket against the Royals.

Glamorgan were set 187 to win after half-centuries from Vikram Solanki and Moeen Ali helped the Royals fight back after early wickets from Glamorgan.

Early wickets from Dilhara Fernando and AJ Harris, followed by four from Gareth Batty, then ensured that Glamorgan were never in the game.

Pinch-hitters Robert Croft and David Harrison both departed without scoring, beaten for pace by Fernando before Harris' triple strike effectively ended the contest.

He had David Hemp caught at slip by Ben Smith for another duck, and then had Tom Maynard (nine) bowled and Michael Powell (13) brilliantly caught by Smith at short midwicket.

Both men were deceived by off-cutters, but the introduction of Batty saw Glamorgan's batsmen coming and going at an alarming rate.

Jamie Dalrymple was good value for his 17 before becoming Batty's first victim, caught by Stephen Moore at leg slip before Batty had the dangerous and prolific Mark Wallace trapped in front for seven.

There was no way back and Batty was in outstanding form, finishing his spell with the wickets of Alex Wharf (one) and Ben Wright (23), caught attempting a reverse sweep before Fernando wrapped up the game by clean bowling Dean Cosker for four.

Earlier, Jason Gillespie was the pick of the bowlers and by having both Steven Davies (12) and Moore (four) caught close to the wicket, beaten for pace, Glamorgan had Worcestershire in all sorts of trouble at 28 for two.

Glamorgan's bowlers were enjoying their task on a dry, dusty wicket and soon their three spinners were in play - Cosker introduced inside the fielding restriction overs and he soon found reward when he had Smith caught by Powell off a leading edge for 14.

It took Solanki a long while to get to his fourth Pro40 half-century of the season and he ground out a crucial innings for his side before losing his wicket shortly after reaching his milestone, caught in the deep attempting to hit Croft out of the ground.

On another day, Worcestershire's innings might have meandered out of control, but Moeen Ali came in and defied the conditions to reach a half-century in even time, and, helped by contributions of 22 from Daryl MItchell, 12 not out from Gareth Andrew and 11 not out from Batty, they got themselves up to a defendable score.

Wharf came back strongly at the death, bowling Ali and Mitchell to take two for 30.

186 looked as if it would set up a decent match, but Worcestershire's bowlers and fielders were having none of it and became the first Division One side to win the Pro40 play-off.

© Cricket World 2008