Worcestershire 139 for 2 (Moeen 65) beat Derbyshire 136 for 7 (Moeen 3-28) by eight wickets
Moeen Ali lit up Road with a magical all-round performance as Worcestershire stepped up their NatWest T20 Blast challenge by crushing Derbyshire by eight wickets with 43 balls to spare. The England allrounder took 3 for 28 as Derbyshire were held to 136 for 7 and then made 65 from 28 deliveries in his team's charge to a third consecutive win in the north group.
A sighting of Moeen at his brilliant best in the shortest format is probably not quite what England had in mind when he was left out of the one-day squad against New Zealand to give him time to prepare for the Ashes in the Championship. As yet, he has not done the red-ball bowling that the selectors wanted but it must still be heartening news that he is among the wickets, even in a different format, as well as scoring runs.
This was his second T20 half-century in five matches and in the process he simply blasted Derbyshire out of contention as the Rapids took 73 off the six-over Powerplay.
At the peak of the onslaught, he went past 50 out of 63 when scoring 24 from an over by Shiv Thakor. In all, a marvellous display of touch and timing brought eight fours and four sixes before he was caught at deep square leg from Chesney Hughes' first delivery.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell for a quick-fire 19, but Daryl Mitchell remained unbeaten with 33 and Colin Munro finished the game with six and four off Alex Hughes.
Derbyshire probably guessed it would not be their night when losing wickets in each of the first four overs. Hamish Rutherford's debut was short and fleetingly sweet. The New Zealander smashed Jack Shantry's fifth delivery over long-on for six but tamely chipped the next ball to Kohler-Cadmore at short mid-on.
Chesney Hughes edged low to wicketkeeper Ben Cox's left in the next over from Joe Leach, who then ran out Thakor with a smart return from short third man to Cox. Wayne Madsen joined the procession , dabbing a ball from Leach to Kohler-Cadmore at slip, and it was only then that the Falcons found some breathing space as Wes Durston and Scott Elstone mustered 31 at a run-a-ball.
Elstone boldly drove Moeen's second delivery over the long-on rope but allowed ambition to overtake him when putting up a neatly taken chance to Ross Whiteley in front of the cover boundary.
Moeen eventually snared Durston, stumped by Cox for 29 when attempting to sweep, and Alex Hughes for 22 when he skied a straightforward catch to bring Leach back into the action at deep square leg. With seven down for 91, it proved to be no more than a face-saving exercise as Tom Knight and Tom Poynton added 45 from the last 5.5 overs.