Worcestershire 367 (Rutherford 108, Mitchell 101, Wessels 72, Parkinson 5-51) beat Lancashire 242 (Jennings 54) by 125 runs
Hamish Rutherford made a hundred on his List A debut for Worcestershire and Daryl Mitchell stroked his fourth century in seven innings against Lancashire as the 2018 semi-finalists got this year’s campaign off to a fine start with a convincing 125-run victory at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Rapids, who have topped the North Group in this competition in each of the past two seasons, confirmed their status as one of the most powerful white-ball sides in the country by making 367 all out in 49.1 overs. In reply, Lancashire, wearing a new blue strip and rebranded as Lancashire Cricket, made 242 all out in 40.4 overs. At no point in their innings did Dane Vilas’ batsmen seem likely to reach their target.
By contrast, Rutherford confidently reached his century off 90 balls with a swept six off Glenn Maxwell and had hit ten fours and three sixes in his 108 by the time he drove Matt Parkinson to Vilas at extra cover. That ended the New Zealander’s 182-run third-wicket stand with Mitchell but he had dominated Lancashire attack from the first few overs of the match, putting on 106 in 12.4 overs with fellow-opener Riki Wessels, who made 72 off 45 balls before lofting legspinner Parkinson to James Anderson at long-off.
Parkinson was, beyond serious dispute, the pick of Lancashire’s attack. In addition to the scalps of Wessels and Rutherford, he deceived Mitchell in the flight to have the former Worcestershire skipper stumped by Brooke Guest for 101 and then took two tail-end wickets in his final over to finish with career-best List A figures of 5 for 51. Worcestershire lost their last four wickets for two runs in seven balls.
Some of the home side’s bowling figures were a grisly sight. Maxwell finished with 2 for 82 from his ten overs and Saqib Mahmood took 2 for 59 off eight. James Anderson conceded 59 runs in eight wicketless overs but was unlucky to have Mitchell dropped by Guest on 26 when the keeper grassed a straightforward chance standing back.
Lancashire’s pursuit of 368 began poorly when Haseeb Hameed was caught at slip by Mitchell off Charlie Morris in the fourth over for only 5 but Keaton Jennings and Guest then stabilised the innings with a stand of 75 in 14 overs.
However, Lancashire’s batsmen were never allowed to dominate the bowling as their opponents had done and Jennings’ dismissal, caught by Rutherford at short fine leg off Wayne Parnell for 54, was the first of a steady stream of dismissals, each of which reinforced Worcestershire’s dominance.
Maxwell hit three sixes and two fours in a 21-ball 35 but his was the only uninhibited aggression offered by the home batsmen and the innings declined rapidly from 181 for 4 in the 32nd over to 191 for 8 in the 35th. Mitchell took two of those wickets as did Parnell and Josh Tongue, but this was a triumph for a seven-man Worcestershire attack which knew its business facing Lancashire batsmen who could not match the visitors’ craft.
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