Nottinghamshire89 for 0 (Hales 60*, Clarke 26*) beat Worcestershire 86 for 8 (Libby 29, Patel 3-4, Ball 3-17) by 10 wickets
A miserly and masterful spell of bowling from Samit Patel has led Nottinghamshire to a thumping – even historic – victory over Worcestershire.
Patel claimed three wickets for four runs from four overs to help Nottinghamshire extend their unbeaten run to five games and jump to the top of the North Group table. It was the in the Blast’s history.
There were only two boundaries in the Worcestershire innings – the first of them from the 66th legitimate delivery – and their final total of 86 for 8 was the equal second-lowest in their T20 history. It took Nottinghamshire just 38 balls to overhaul their target and they did so without losing a wicket. The entire match was over in 114 minutes.
It’s the second time in Nottinghamshire’s history that they have won a T20 match by 10 wickets (the previous one was against Middlesex in 2019) and the first time Worcestershire have been defeated by such a margin. Really, this was an execution more than a contest.
Indeed, so one-sided was this encounter – again, let’s not call it a contest – that anyone in two minds over whether to attend due to the scheduling clash with England’s footballers need have had no concerns: it was over well before kick-off.
You might think, to look at the scorecard of Worcestershire’s innings, that this was some sort of terror track. But it is not so. While there was a little spin for Patel and co. this was a second horrendous batting performance in succession from Worcestershire. Having lost seven wickets for 12 runs in 24 balls as they succumbed to a thumping 94-run loss against Yorkshire, they produced something even less impressive here. It was a chastening start for Ben Cox in his first game as captain in T20 cricket.
Patel, in particular, harnessed that assistance expertly. Using his variations, his control and that touch of turn, he almost seemed to be toying with Worcestershire’s batters. He had Brett D’Oliveria taken at slip by the batter’s first delivery – the third ball of the match – and, in his next over, had Tom Fell stumped after turning one past him as he charged down the pitch and Riki Wessels slicing one to backward point. He followed it with a maiden to leave Worcestershire reeling at 20 for 4 after the powerplay and returned later to complete his four-over spell by conceding just a single off the 17th over of the innings.
You suspect, given his age (36) and shape (he is not slim, though he very rarely misses a game due to injury) that England will not look in his direction. But if the T20 World Cup is going to played in the UAE or India, a spinning all-rounder of this much guile and experience wouldn’t seem such an absurd idea.
There’s Samit in the way he moves, as George Harrison so nearly put it.
It wasn’t just Patel responsible for Nottinghamshire’s success. Jake Ball and Luke Fletcher also bowled with impressive control and skill, with the former seemingly growing in pace and confidence by the performance and both men utilising the yorker with precision. While Jake Libby and Ross Whiteley added 46 in 8.1 overs for the fifth wicket, the damage inflicted in those opening overs was simply too deep. At 11 for 4 after four overs, this match was all but over.
Alex Hales and Joe Clarke soon put the pitch into perspective. At one stage, it looked as if they would complete victory within the powerplay with Hales – looking every inch an international cricketer – racing to 50 from just 18 deliveries. It took only seven balls for Nottinghamshire to match Worcestershire’s boundary count and Hales’ half-century contained nine fours, two sixes and just three singles.
Worcesytershire’s bowlers were always facing an uneven challenge, but there might be some concern about the punishment inflicted upon Ish Sodhi for the second game in succession. His second over cost an eye-watering 27 runs as Hales slow-swept when he went full, pulled him when he dropped short and cut him when he over compensated. His fellow overseas player, Ben Dwarshuis, who conceded six fours in his two overs, fared little better. This really was a brutal beating.
Somewhat ominously, the North Group currently has the five international hosting grounds at the top of the table and the four who do not at the bottom. Nottinghamshire, at this stage at least unaffected by England call-ups, look the side to beat.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.