Jayasuriya ends Worcestershire's losing run
Worcestershire 142 for 1 beat Northamptonshire 140 for 5
Sanath Jayasuriya smashed a dazzling 87 as Worcestershire Royals ended a grim run of defeats with a crushing nine-wicket win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Friends Provident t20 match at New Road. After losing their previous six North Group games, the Royals stormed to their 141-run target with 34 balls to spare.
Jayasuriya, whose three previous knocks since arriving at New Road had yielded just 21 runs, smacked five sixes and 10 fours off 45 balls. The was backed up by Australian Phil Jaques, who was undefeated on 47 - which contained one six and five fours off 41 deliveries.
They put on 138 in 14.1 overs before Jayasuriya was caught at deep backward square by David Willey off Nicky Boje. Worcestershire, however, remain bottom of the table while it was only Northamptonshire's second defeat in their last six outings.
The Steelbacks, after winning the toss, were restricted to 140 for 5 with Royals' spinner Moeen Ali taking a career-best 3 for 25. Northamptonshire lost their first wicket off the first ball of the third over when former New Road campaigner Chaminda Vaas was smartly run out by a diving underarm throw from James Cameron off Jack Shantry.
It was an important wicket for the hosts, particularly as Vaas top-scored with 54 when his side won by 21 runs against Worcestershire in the match at Northampton on June 11. The Steelbacks' unspectacular start to their innings was largely down to the Royals' left arm paceman Shantry, whose opening three overs, including a maiden, cost a mere six runs.
Niall O'Brien and Alex Wakely, however, stayed together to take the visitors on to the 50 mark in the ninth over. Their partnership was worth 49 in seven-and-a-half overs before Wakely drove Moeen to Richard Jones at long on for 31.
Shortly afterwards Jones was unable to hold on to an awkward chance at long-off to dismiss O'Brien when he was on 23. He moved on to 34 before becoming the first of two wickets in successive deliveries for Moeen, who also accounted for David Sales.
Rob White fell cheaply to Jayasuriya before Northamptonshire moved into three figures in the 17th over. They were then given a valuable lift by Elton Chigumbura, who cracked an undefeated 39 off 20 balls - including three sixes and two fours.