Unicorns seal tense victory
Unicorns 280 for 7 beat Worcestershire 277 for 7 by three wickets
Mike O'Shea hit 90 to help the Unicorns pull off a shock three-wicket victory over stunned Worcestershire Royals in a thrilling Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Kidderminster. Needing 278 to win, they reached their target with two balls to spare.
O'Shea was the hero with his best one-day score which included five sixes and seven fours off 62 balls. He put on 115 in 13.3 overs for the fourth wicket with Keith Parsons who made 47 to leave embarrassed Worcestershire still searching for their first Group A win of the season after seven attempts.
For the Unicorns it was their third win of the season to lift them into fourth place in the table. Bottom-placed Worcestershire slipped to 27 for 3 inside the opening five overs before recovering to make 277 for 7 thanks half centuries by Shakib Al Hassan, Daryl Mitchell and James Cameron.
Their shaky start began when Solanki fell to the first delivery by Jonathan Miles, who is familiar with the Chester Road ground having played for Kidderminster in the Birmingham League in 2006 and 2007. The left arm paceman, who finished with three for 49, also trapped Moeen Ali lbw before Alexei Kervzee departed three balls later when bowled off stump by Neil Saker.
After that the Unicorns bowlers found life more difficult with Shakib reaching his half century off 42 deliveries with one six and seven fours. He was finally bowled off a inside edge by O'Shea in the seamer's first full over after taking over from Ed Young, who was forced to temporarily pull out of the attack after damaging his bowling hand.
Shakib smacked two sixes and eight fours off 61 balls in his 72 and put on 113 in 18.3 overs with Mitchell, who made 70 before lifting Saker to O'Shea at extra cover. He struck seven fours off 84 balls and put on 76 in 11 overs with Cameron, whose 58 was his highest List A score which contained one six and eight fours off 47 deliveries.
The Unicorns soon suffered a blow in their run chase when Chris Murtagh fell to Alan Richardson. Former Worcestershire second team wicketkeeper Josh Knappett, another ex-Kidderminster player, then added 61 in 11 overs with Jackson Thompson who reached his half century off 37 balls after being dropped on three by Shaaiq Choudry
The 24 year old, who played a couple of second eleven games for Worcestershire last season, was finally removed for 54 containing two sixes and six fours off 46 deliveries. His departure opened the gate for O'Shea and Parsons to help destroy the Royals with their three-figure stand which was ended when Richardson bowled Parsons.
Despite further wickets falling the Unicorns kept their nerve, thanks largely to an unbeaten 25 by Neil Hancock.