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August 9, 2014
Worcestershire 305 for 3 (Mitchell 88, Fell 74, Kervezee 63*) beat Lancashire 304 for 7 (Prince 69, Croft 50) by seven wickets
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Fell set up Worcestershire's record-breaking chase as they kept alive their hopes of progressing in the Royal London Cup.
In going past Lancashire's total of 304 for 7 they surpassed their previous best run-chase in 50-over cricket, set in 2007 when overcoming Warwickshire's 303 for 6 on their home ground.
Skipper Mitchell made 88 and Fell 74 to create an ideal platform in a second-wicket partnership of 137 in 27 overs and the game probably turned when Alexei Kervezee edged the first ball he faced between wicketkeeper and first slip. The cost mounted as Kervezee charged on to an unbeaten 63 and saw his side through to a famous victory with 13 balls to spare.
Kervezee timed the ball brilliantly, picking off eight fours from 49 deliveries and left-hander Ross Whiteley brought out the hammer blows with three sixes and four fours in powering to 45 not out to easily clear off the 126 wanted from the last 15 overs. Their partnership was worth 89 in 8.3 overs.
In conceding 300 runs or more for the third time in five group games - four of which they have lost - Lancashire simply lacked the depth of bowling to cope with Worcestershire's acceleration on a day of 609 runs.
Defeat was tough on the Red Rose batsmen after posting successive totals of 300 or more, the first of these in seeing off Derbyshire on Thursday. Four batsmen scored half-centuries in that match and three of them repeated the feat at Worcester.
Ashwell Prince, with 11 fours in making 69 from 74 balls, and Karl Brown, with 50 from 69, set them rolling in a second-wicket stand of 105 in 21 overs and Steven Croft was marginally quicker, beefing up the middle order with 50 from 52 deliveries.
For Worcestershire it was a punishing session after a shift of emphasis in their bowling attack since using two front-line spinners, Moeen Ali and Saeed Ajmal, in reaching the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals. By the time they were eliminated by Surrey last weekend, Shaaiq Choudhry was the one spinner who bowled at The Oval and when he was omitted against Lancashire, they went in with six seamers.
Only Mitchell McClenaghan, with his pace and hostility, broke up the sameness of the attack. The New Zealander conceded three consecutive boundaries to Usman Khawaja before knocking out his off stump when the batsman shouldered arms after making all 21 runs on the board by the fourth over.
Lancashire were soon accumulating much as they liked. In all, their innings contained 36 fours and five sixes, the biggest of these clattering into the roof of the Graeme Hick Pavilion as Wayne White reached 26 not out from 17 balls. The closest Lancashire came to a wobble was at 150 for 3 in the 30th over after losing Prince, clipping to short extra-cover off Whitley, and Brown, caught at deep cover off Charlie Morris. Of those who made half-centuries at Derby, Alex Davies was one who came up short, caught behind when attempting to scoop a ball from Jack Shantry.
The other wickets fell during the late charge, Kervezee holding catches on the boundary from Croft and Jordan Clark, who made 20.
"We are absolutely delighted," Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said. "It's the first time we have pulled off our batting plan exactly as we wanted to. Ironically it's also the first time we have chased in this competition.
"A lot of hard work was done by Daryl Mitchell and Tom Fell originally and thankfully the finishers, Alexei Kervezee and Ross Whitely, completed a wonderful chase comfortably."
Lancashire captain Glen Chapple said: "It has been a good game of cricket today. We've just come out on wrong side for various reasons. The lads are obviously disappointed because of our position in the tournament. We are struggling really.
"The pitch did a little bit in morning with a 10.30am start so we did well to score 300. It was really good effort but we couldn't find wickets to create a finish."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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