Moeen, Hughes slaughter Gloucs
Worcestershire 213 for 2 (Moeen 82, Hughes 78*) beat Gloucestershire 166 (Shantry 4-33) by 47 runs
Worcestershire got their FLt20 campaign under way with dazzling half-centuries by Moeen Ali and Phillip Hughes in a comfortable 47-run victory over Gloucestershire.
With both sides having their opening fixtures washed out on Friday, it was Worcestershire who seized the momentum, with Moeen's competition-best 82 from 44 balls setting up an imposing total. Hughes was equally punishing in reaching an unbeaten 78 from 48 deliveries and the target was too much for the Gladiators. Jack Shantry and Gareth Andrew both took two wickets in an over as Gloucestershire folded for 166.
Not even Muttiah Muralitharan could hold up Worcestershire's charge but the 40-year-old former Sri Lanka international was the most economical bowler with 27 runs conceded in four overs. Although targeted for one of Moeen's four sixes, Murali managed to pose one or two problems, which was some sort of achievement as the batsmen tucked into a mixture of seam and spin on offer from a hard-pressed attack.
Moeen gave a hint of things to come with four fours off David Payne in the second over and the pace only quickened when Vikram Solanki - no slouch himself with 16 from 12 balls - missed a full toss from James Fuller.
This brought in Hughes to trade blow for blow with Moeen in a left-handed partnership which made a mockery of any plans that Hamish Marshall may have had in his first match as Gloucestershire's designated Twenty20 captain.
Moeen posted the 100 stand in 9.3 overs with a six over midwicket off Kane Williamson but he was bowled next ball attempting another big hit off the spinner. Even this wicket brought no respite for Gloucestershire as the hard-hitting Andrew marked his promotion up the order with an unbeaten 32 in a five-over stand of 65 with Hughes.
The pressure quickly got to the visiting batsmen. A quick-fire 43 by Marshall gave them some hope and fellow New Zealander Williamson threatened with 37 until brilliantly caught on the boundary by Solanki. Fuller, with a huge six over the New Road stand, was the best of the rest with 36 from 22 balls but the result was all but confirmed when he was caught at long-off to give David Lucas his one success in three overs for only 13 runs.