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North Group (D/N), Nottingham, June 02, 2023, Vitality Blast
(18.2/20 ov, T:227) 170

WORCS won by 56 runs


Worcestershire overwhelm Notts to maintain unbeaten run

Hefty total backed up by four-fors for D'Oliveira, Brown

Brett D'Oliveira in his delivery stride  •  Getty Images

Brett D'Oliveira in his delivery stride  •  Getty Images

Worcestershire 226 for 5 (Bracewell 55, Hose 51*) beat Nottinghamshire 170 (Hales 71, D'Oliveira 4-11 Brown 4-25) by 56 runs
Worcestershire Rapids made it four wins from four matches in the Vitality Blast after their 226 for five - the second highest total in their history in the T20 format - proved way too many for North Group rivals Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge, who lost by 56 runs.
Michael Bracewell (55), Adam Hose (51 not out), Brett D'Oliveira (44) and Jack Haynes (42) were the chief beneficiaries as a depleted Outlaws attack were largely taken apart after opting to bowl first on a good pitch, only skipper Steven Mullaney (two for 28) emerging with credit as injured trio Jake Ball, Olly Stone and Luke Fletcher were badly missed.
Nott coach Peter Moores admitted: "We are struggling without three frontline bowlers and that hurt us tonight. Having said that we didn't play well, which is frustrating because we lost control of the game right from the start. Steven Mullaney and Matt Carter bowled well on a really good pitch but the other lads didn't quite get it right."
Alex Hales led a positive powerplay on the way to 71 from 35 balls and Shaheen Afridi provided some late excitement with four sixes in the same over but with D'Oliveira claiming a career-best four for 11 from his two overs of leg spin and Pat Brown four for 25 the Outlaws, who would have needed to make their biggest score chasing, were never really contenders.
Rapids piled up a massive 87 without loss in the six powerplay overs, D'Oliveira setting the pace with 44 from 20 balls, Bracewell not far behind with 38 from 17. Both cleared the ropes twice.
The pair put on 98 in 41 balls for the first wicket, although Bracewell had a let-off on six when chipping Afridi to short midwicket, where Colin Munro stretched an arm above his head but could only push the ball behind him. That came during an eventful over that saw the Pakistan star visibly aggrieved over a no-ball call for having too many fielders outside the ring, his mood not helped when the extra ball flew off the edge of Bracewell's bat for four.
A breakthrough for the Outlaws arrived when D'Oliveira holed out to deep square leg off Samit Patel in the seventh over, after which two wickets in consecutive overs hinted at a fightback as Bracewell was bowled making room to cut and Mitchell Santner, back from the IPL to start a third stint with the Rapids, gave Mullaney an easy caught-and-bowled.
But at 125 for three in the 11th, Jack Haynes was joined by Adam Hose to add another 53 from 22 balls, the former cracking a couple of slog-swept maximums before Matt Montgomery completed a fine catch on the run at deep extra cover to end his progress on 42 from 25 balls.
Mullaney, easily the pick of the Outlaws bowlers, conceded only two from the 17th but the last three overs saw Afridi and Conor McKerr surrender another 41 for the solitary wicket of Kashif Ali as Hose finished 51 not out from 27 balls with three fours and four sixes, two off McKerr in the penultimate over and an audacious scoop for another off Afridi in the last.
Needing more than 11 runs per over to go close to the Rapids' total, the Outlaws were comfortably ahead of that with 76 on the board from the powerplay, although they lost one of their key weapons when Joe Clarke, after an escape on 17, was caught at short fine leg for 25 off 16 balls.
Hales was finding the gaps in the field with ominous regularity, reaching his third fifty of this season's Blast in 21 balls with two sixes, carved over extra cover off Adam Finch and off-spinner Bracewell, as well as seven fours, but a couple of tight overs from Bracewell and Santner's left-arm spin brought the first element of scoreboard pressure and yielded a dividend for the Rapids when their former team-mate Colin Munro, another who might have done some serious damage, skied one off Brown to be caught at long on.
Two more wickets lost in the next over, as new Montgomery and Tom Moores both found fielders in their efforts to put the pressure back on the visiting side against D'Oliveira's leg spin, left the Outlaws 99 for four after 10 overs with Hales seemingly now their only hope of making a game of it.
But he lost more partners when Bracewell bowled Lyndon James and Mullaney was caught on the extra cover boundary by a diving Hose off D'Oliveira, Hales departing in the same over, throwing everything into a similar shot but falling to a superb catch, again by Hose, who parried the ball above the rope and caught it as it dropped.
Afridi's four sixes off one Bracewell over provided a flurry of late entertainment but he, Samit Patel and Matt Carter predictably perished in their desperate pursuit of runs as the Outlaws were bowled out for 170 in the 19th over.

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