Sussex’s miserable One Day Cup campaign continues with Worcester loss
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The Rapids ensured a top three spot with a sixth win in eight group games after dismissing the Sharks in 45.5 overs and then knocking off their 191 target in just 26.4 overs to give their net run-rate a massive lift.
They maintained a grip with the ball after Dillon Pennington and Matthew Waite picked up a trio of scalps in the initial powerplay with spinner Josh Baker’s three wickets taking his tally to 15 in the competition.
Danial Ibrahim’s List A best score of 51 provided the most resistance but the Sharks total was well below par after they chose to bat.
Gareth Roderick and Azhar Ali then ensured there would be few alarms for the Rapids after laying the foundations during an opening stand of 82.
Azhar, 74, and Kashif Ali, with a 26 ball half century, then added a further 93 in 8.3 overs.
Sussex captain Tom Haines said: “We weren’t good enough. Bat, ball and in the field they were better than us. We can’t really say much more than that to be honest. Our skills have been poorer than they were last year. Last year we took a lot more wickets during the powerplays and put teams under pressure earlier.
“Batting, we’ve not scored quick enough, especially through the middle overs. We’ve lost early wickets. All those things add up to losing games. It’s a whole team thing. We’ve not been good enough. My confidence does take a hit for sure. I still enjoy captaining, I still want to win every game I play.
“But my confidence does take a hit and I think that has maybe shown in the way I’ve batted in the last few games as well. It’s something everyone goes through, not just us, and it’s how we try and get out of it that is the most important thing.
“We need to try and give it our best in the last game and then the focus turns to the Championship in September.”
Worcestershire made two changes from the side which triumphed against Derbyshire at the Incora County Ground on Friday with Azhar and Logan van Beek replacing Ed Pollock and Pat Brown.
Sussex handed debuts to a pair of 19-year-olds in batter Zak Lion-Cachet and off-spinner Bertie Foreman.
Sharks captain Haines opted to bat first and his side quickly ran into trouble on the same wicket as which Worcestershire had been reduced to 25-5 in the powerplay against Warwickshire last Sunday.
Waite made the first breakthrough when Harrison Ward was lbw to ball of full length which swung back into his pads.
Pennington shared the new ball and he struck in successive overs.
Tom Alsop played down the wrong line to a ball which nipped away and was pouched at second slip by Baker.
The same combination then accounted for Haines after he drove at Pennington.
Sussex reached 42-3 by the end of the initial powerplay and James Coles and Liam Cachet led a partial recovery during a partnership of 42.
But Worcestershire captain Jake Libby broke the stand with a superb piece of fielding.
Coles played Logan van Beek to mid wicket and set off for a single but he was run out by Libby’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end with only one stump to aim at.
Baker came into the attack and quickly cemented Worcestershire’s position of strength.
Lion-Cachet (34) showed plenty of plenty of promise on his debut before making room to cut and being bowled via the bottom edge.
Charlie Tear then stepped back and chipped a straightforward catch to Rob Jones at extra cover.
Foreman (35) also created a favourable impression on his debut in adding 66 in 14.1 overs with Ibrahim.
He eventually became Baker’s third victim when attempting a switch hit and being bowled behind his legs.
Ibrahim completed his half century from 85 balls with five fours before the innings was wrapped up.
Van Beek had Ibrahim taken at deep square leg and the Netherlands international struck again when Sean Hunt could only find the hands of mid off.
A second run out of the innings polished off proceedings when Brad Currie (0) failed to beat Rob Jones direct hit from backward point attempting a quick single.
Azhar and Roderick were initially watchful in seeing off the new ball attack of Currie and Hunt but gradually started to accelerate.
A cover-drive for four by Roderick at Atkins expense brought up the 50 in the 13th over.
The stand was broken when Roderick holed out to long on off Foreman but Azhar completed a 61 ball half century with six fours to sustain the momentum.
Kashif Ali, who had smashed 88 off 36 balls against Derbyshire on Friday, continued in the same big-hitting vein.
He struck three maximums off Coles on his way to a --- fifty and, with Azhar stepping up a gear, 93 were added in just 8.4 overs.
Azhar left the field to a standing ovation after he finally holed out to long on off Ibrahim and then Kashif completed the victory with his fifth six, off Atkins,