Worcestershire Rapids launched their 2018 Vitality Blast campaign in thrilling fashion with a five-wicket victory over Lancashire Lightning at Emirates Old Trafford.
Needing 189 to take the four points, the Rapids won with one ball to spare when Ed Barnard drove Jordan Clark for four.
It was the ideal start to the 2018 campaign for the Rapids who entertain Birmingham Bears tomorrow evening at Blackfinch New Road (5.30pm start).
Rapids’ skipper Brett D’Oliveira made off 37 not out off 23 balls with five boundaries to help his side over the finishing line via a 67 run stand with Ross Whiteley.
Whiteley was caught off a skier on the on side by Arron Lilley for 28 from the third ball of the last over but Barnard’s blow over mid off settled matters.
There were contributions all down the order from the Rapids batsmen – a similar trait to their success in the Royal London One-Day Cup – after Lancashire had made 188-6 on opting to bat.
The Rapids innings got off to an excellent start with 70 runs being scored in the six Powerplay overs, 20 more than Lancashire had managed in the same period.
The only wicket to fall was that of Martin Guptill for 19 in his 200th T20 match – caught at mid on by Clark off Joe Mennie
Opener Joe Clarke played some scorching shots in his 42 off 24 balls although he was given a life by Stephen Parry at mid on when he had made 11 and another by Mennie at backward point on 40.
The Worcestershire opener was eventually bowled reverse sweeping Faulkner after striking one six and five fours.
Callum Ferguson also looked in good nick before he was caught in the deep by Clark off Parry for a 21-ball 35 and then Clark bowled Ben Cox for 19.
The Rapids needed 64 runs off the last six overs but D’Oliveira took 15 runs off Mennie’s next six deliveries to keep their pursuit on course.
The runs required for victory had been reduced to 43 off the last four overs and 15 runs came off the 18th over. bowled by Parkinson, in which Steven Croft dropped D’Oliveira at deep midwicket on 32.
Whiteley’s six in the next over almost saw the visitors home and seven runs were needed off the final six balls of the innings which were bowled by Clark.
The Rapids gave a debut to on loan Nottinghamshire paceman Luke Wood and he contributed to Lancashire’s innings beginning quietly as skipper Liam Livingstone and Alex Davies scored only 24 runs off the first four overs.
Livingstone accelerated before he was caught at deep square leg by Barnard off Daryl Mitchell for 35 when attempting to hit a fifth maximum.
Mitchell then caught Davies at long-on three balls later when the Lightning opener chanced his arm against D’Oliveira’s first ball of the innings.
Davies’ departure for 20 brought two new batsmen together and Lilley’s third-wicket stand with Keaton Jennings began in circumspect fashion.
But the pair still brought up their side’s hundred in the 13th over, only for Lilley to be caught at long on by Patt Brown off the spin of George Rhodes immediately that mark had been reached.
Dane Vilas then put on 28 in 2.3 overs with Jennings before becoming the fourth batsman caught in the deep when he smacked Rhodes (2-27) to Guptill and departed for a nine-ball 16.
Jennings, meanwhile, reached his fifty off 32 balls having hit three fours and two sixes.
But the England opener lost his middle stump to the next ball he received, thereby becoming Wood’s first wicket for Worcestershire.
James Faulkner could make only four on his return to Lancashire but Clark and Croft ensured the home side reached 188-6 off their 20 overs, Clark making 25 not out off 13 balls.