Moeen knock sweeps Essex aside
Worcestershire 191 for 3 (Ali 99) beat Essex 190 for 9 (Pettini 64) by seven wickets
Worcestershire carved out an emphatic seven-wicket victory against Essex in their CB40 match at Chelmsford. Replying to a total of 190 for 9, they reached the winning post with 6.1 overs to spare, as Moeen Ali followed up an economical spell of bowling with a magnificent 99 before he was dismissed with the visitors just eight runs from their target.
Sharing the batting limelight with him was Vikram Solanki, the pair putting together an opening century partnership without looking in the slightest trouble. Indeed, they looked so comfortable it came as something of a surprise when Solanki was bowled by left-arm spinner Tim Phillips with the total on 104 in the 17th over. Solanki had struck seven fours when he was dismissed three short of his half-century.
But Ali went on to underline his class before pulling Alviro Petersen into the hands of Greg Smith at deep midwicket.
Earlier, Essex failed to make use of the solid foundations laid by openers Alastair Cook and Mark Pettini. They had put on 84 when, in the 17th over, Cook was run out after being called through for a single. Daryl Mitchell threw down the stumps from midwicket to bring the England opener's innings of 47 to an end.
Pettini went on to make 64 from 76 deliveries with the help of two sixes and two fours, at which point he was caught in the deep attacking off-spinner Ali to leave Essex 143 for 5. But either side of Pettini's departure, the batsmen struggled to come to terms with some accurate bowling backed up by fine work in the field.
David Lucas, James Cameron and Ali each displayed safe hands in the deep as Essex perished in an attempt to break free, with slow left-armer Shaaiq Choudhry being largely responsible for the decline of the innings. Medium-pacer Shantry picked up 2 for 48 in his eight overs, while Choudhry claimed 2 for 37. But it was Ali who proved the most economical, with Pettini's wicket at a cost of 27 runs from his full allocation.