Worcestershire Royals sealed a 56-run victory over Middlesex Panthers in the CB40 at New Road as Phillip Hughes marked his County debut with a century.
Worcestershire won the toss and chose to bat and after losing Moeen Ali for 6, when he was caught by Paul Stirling at fine leg off Steven Crook, Hughes and Vikram Solanki took the score to 68 in the 17th over when Solanki was caught by Ollie Rayner off Stirling for 30.
Captain Daryl Mitchell then joined Hughes and their partnership made steady progress as they took the Royals to 131-2 after 30 overs. They then both accelerated by adding on a further 53 runs in 4.3 overs until, with the third wicket partnership on 116, Mitchell was bowled by Rayner for 48 off 48 balls. Hughes then reached his century off 115 balls, with 9 fours, and along with Gareth Andrew maintained the aggression as Worcestershire got to 227 in the 39th over when Andrew was run out for 26 off just 12 balls. 5 runs later Hughes was caught at deep mid-wicket for 111 off 137 balls, including 11 fours, and then Alexei Kervezee (1*) and Aneesh Kapil (2*) were at the crease for the final few balls as Worcestershire ended their 40 overs on 235-5.
The Panthers replied with an opening stand of 38 until Dawid Malan was caught by David Lucas at fine leg off Jack Shantry for 18. Joe Denly then perished, with the score on 71 in the 14th over, when he played the ball onto the stumps off Ali, who then got the wickets of Eoin Morgan for 2, caught brilliantly by Andrew in front of the pavilion at long-leg, and Stirling for 28 to reduce the visitors to 82-4 in the 18th over. When Shaaiq Choudhry dismissed captain Neil Dexter for 2 with the score on 94-5, the Royals were on top but Chris Rogers and Gareth Berg had other ideas as they put on 58 for the sixth wicket as Middlesex reached 152-5 after 30 overs.
But then Shantry swung the match in Worcestershire’s favour when Berg was caught by Solanki for 28 and then, three balls later, had Rogers caught by Hughes for 44 to leave the visitors to 156-7. When Rayner was lbw for 0, two balls later, Shantry had taken three wickets in the over as the Panthers were reduced to 157-8. Mitchell then had John Simpson caught by Andrew and when Steven Finn was bowled by Lucas Middlesex were all out for 179 in the 35th over, with Shantry taking one-day career best figures, with 4-32 off 6 overs, with good support from Ali (3-34 off 8 overs) and other wickets taken by Mitchell (1-17 off 4 overs), Lucas (1-35 off 5.3 overs) and Choudhry (1-41 off 8 overs).