Vince’s Record-breaking Effort in Vain

In the North Group on Wednesday, unbeaten Worcestershire crashed to the third heaviest defeat of the season, losing by 152 runs. Dane Vilas continued his excellent form for Lancashire to score an unbeaten 100, while Jordan Clark made a career-best 79 not out off just 58 balls as the pair added 160 for the sixth wicket to take the hosts up to 313 for five. Clark wasn’t finished as he followed up with figures of four for 34, the best of his career as the visitors stumbled to 161 all out.

Yorkshire seized control of the group with an even more emphatic win at Northampton, by 164 runs. Gary Ballance is in superb form at the moment, and his 152 not out was his highest score in this format and helped his team up to 300 for six. With David Willey and Ben Coad picking up four wickets inside the first three overs, the run chase was as good as over before it had even begun. There was time for Graeme White to equal his career high of 40, but his side were all out for 136.

Warwickshire’s disappointing defence of their trophy continued at Derby. Sam Hain recorded his fourth and highest limited-over century (109), adding 182 for the second wicket with skipper Ian Bell (93) to reach 292 for seven. Derbyshire replied with their best-ever successful run chase, started by Ben Slater’s 82. But it was Jeevan Mendis, who hit 44 not out off 23 balls at the end, who saw his side home with two balls to spare to finish on 296 for six. As a result, the holders could no longer reach the knockout stages of the tournament. Mark Adair made his debut for them, scoring 0 not out and failing to take a wicket, though he did run out Billy Godleman.

In the South Group, Somerset suffered their first defeat of the campaign at Taunton, as Hampshire won by four wickets with plenty of time to spare. The home side’s total of 249 never looked like being enough. Rilee Rossouw quickly removed any debate on the matter: his 156 was a career high and it came in just 113 balls. Despite Jamie Overton picking up four wickets, all that the rest of the Hampshire line-up needed to do was keep Rossouw company to secure the win, as they contributed just 79 runs to the total.

There was a much closer encounter at Chelmsford, where Essex kept up their excellent form and beat Sussex by 10 runs. Former England skipper Alastair Cook scored his second century of the competition (109) and then Ryan ten Doeschate finished off the job with 102 in 91 balls as his side ended up on 295 for seven. Paul Walter scored 4 not out on his debut. Chris Nash (66) and Stiaan van Zyl (61) will both have felt they could have gone on, but in the end it was Jofra Archer who threatened to win it for the South Coast team. He was one of three victims to fall to Walter in seven balls after he had scored a career-best 45 in just 22 balls. With three overs to go and 20 still wanted, it had been in his hands.

It was tight at the bottom of the table too, where Gloucestershire beat Kent by 11 runs at Bristol. Michael Klinger batted for almost the entire innings for his 134 to take the hosts up to a final score of 275 for eight – at 260 for four, he was the first of five wickets to fall in ten balls. Matt Coles took four for 57 for Kent, among them George Hankins first ball on his debut. The visitors kept up with the run rate, but after skipper Sam Northeast was out at the end of the 43rd over there was no one who batted with sufficient calm to see them to the finish, except for Adam Rouse who was left stranded on 24 not out as Kent finished on 264 for nine. That they fell short was largely due to an excellent effort from Chris Liddle, who took five for 36.

Finally in the group, Middlesex beat Glamorgan by 16 runs at Radlett in a relatively low-scoring affair. The home side were bowled out for 243, with Tom Helm’s career-best 25 at the end proving a key factor in the outcome. The surprise success from the Welsh attack was Colin Ingram, who came into the match with 32 wickets in 175 games, but ended up with a career-best four for 39. He followed it up with 53, but none of his team-mates could improve on that, and so they were bowled out for 227. Steven Finn took four for 39, but it was Ryan Higgins who accounted for Ingram on his way to his best analysis of three for 32.

There was just one game on the Thursday, and Durham beat Nottinghamshire by four wickets at Trent Bridge in a gripping run chase. Alex Hales top scored on his return from England duty, making 104, while Billy Root was finally out (for 66) after scoring 198 runs unbeaten in four innings. His career average has risen to an emphatic 83.33 – something for big brother to aspire to, especially after his younger brother pinched the Root 66 line! A score of 297 all out was something of a disappointment. After a couple of early losses, a maiden half-century for Graham Clark (92) and a career-best 77 from Cameron Steel took Durham to 168 for two, before both fell in quick succession. It was then left to veteran Paul Collingwood to remind everyone why he was once England’s key man in the shorter formats, as he made 73 not out in 47 balls to see his side home with five balls remaining.

Friday’s seven fixtures further clarified things in the race for the knockout stages, albeit some of the matches were rain-affected. At Worcester, Ian Bell scored 104 and Rikki Clarke blasted 84 not out in 52 balls as Warwickshire made 304 for five in 49 overs. The home side’s target was eventually set at 241 in 34 overs, and some lusty blows from the middle order saw them home with three wickets and 13 balls to spare, despite Grant Thornton’s fine effort to take four for 42, his best figures.

At a rainy Blackpool, Lancashire somehow overcame both Derbyshire and the Duckworth/Lewis method. Originally given 36 overs to bat, the visitors’ innings came to a close after 21.3 overs with them on 132 for two, and Lancashire were set a target of 161 from 18 overs. Stephen Parry, their No 9, became their most unlikely hero as he hit 22 not out off ten balls to see the Red Rose to victory with a ball and three wickets to spare. The rain had even more impact at Leicester, where Northamptonshire had reached 121 for one when the match had to be abandoned. Max Holden made his debut for the visitors, but never got onto the field. The result ensured Northants would not be reaching the play-offs.

In the South Group, Southampton played host to the most dramatic game of the week. Hampshire batted first and James Vince dominated proceedings, scoring a career-best and a county record 178 in only 138 balls. His innings beat the previous best scores of 177, 173* and 172 – all by Gordon Greenidge. With Liam Dawson (74), Vince set a new fourth-wicket record partnership of 221. A total of 332 for six off 49 overs seemed more than adequate, though Marchant de Lange had his best figures of five for 49.

At 151 for four in reply, needing 182 off 106 balls, Glamorgan seemed out of it, but Colin Ingram hit his second century in three innings (115 in 78 balls, including seven sixes) and then he was joined by Chris Cooke. With four overs left, they still needed 60 to win, but 21 off Topley’s over swung the balance to the visitors. Holland seemed to have turned things back again when he had Ingram caught, only for Cooke to follow up with successive sixes. By the last over, a target of nine seemed easy, but four runs in four balls piled the pressure back on the batsmen. Cooke was up to it and launched a final six to finish on 59 not out in 27 balls to win the match with one ball to spare. Reaching 334 for seven was Glamorgan’s highest successful run chase.

Somerset tightened their grip at the top of the table in Bristol. A career-best 101 not out from Adam Hose, along with 90 from Jim Allenby saw them up to 294 for six off 46 overs. It was too much for Gloucestershire, despite Jack Taylor’s highest score of 68 in the middle order. Max Waller polished off the lower order to finish his best analysis of three for 37 as the hosts fell to 215 all out.

Essex look like joining them in the knockout stages after they beat Middlesex by seven wickets at Chelmsford. The away side was bowled out for a paltry 148. Jamie Porter finished with best figures of four for 40, while Paul Walter did even better, ending up with four for 37 – he now has seven for 82 after two matches, the 22-year-old left-armer has taken to cricket at this level with great ease. In-form Alastair Cook secured an easy win, hitting 67 not out as Essex won with more than 20 overs to spare.

Surrey beat bottom-placed Kent by 44 runs at The Oval. The home side batted first and reached 251 for seven in 41 overs, with Ben Foakes making 82 not out. Sam Billings (69) was the only one to pass 35 for the visitors, who were all out for 204 despite facing a marginally altered Duckworth/Lewis target of 249. Stuart Meaker was the main destroyer, taking a career-best four for 37.

There was a full round of eight games on Sunday in the penultimate round of fixtures in the Royal London One-Day Cup. In the North Group, Worcestershire secured their place in the knockout stages after they beat Durham by 15 runs at Worcester. The hosts batted first, and a career-best 73 not out from Brett D’Oliveira helped them up to 270 for eight, with Paul Coughlin finishing with his best figures of three for 36. In reply, Graham Clark hit a maiden century (114) in just 128 balls, but apart from Keaton Jennings (47) he received little support, as Durham fell narrowly short. They top the table with 11 points.

Yorkshire would have expected to win at Edgbaston, as Warwickshire had won just one game all season. Joe Root hit 83 (perhaps in honour of his brother’s average at the start of the day), and then Matthew Waite hit a brisk career high of 71 as his side finished on 281 for eight. Ian Bell just missed out on back-to-back centuries, scoring 98, but he set up a comfortable win with 15 balls and five wickets to spare. Yorkshire are second, on ten points, and will also finish in the top three.

After their win over Lancashire at Trent Bridge, which took them up to eight points, Nottinghamshire know that if they secure a victory in Northampton on Tuesday, they will be the third side into the knockout stages. Lancashire’s 260 for six never looked like being enough on a ground that has supplied some mammoth totals. Haseeb Hameed top-scored with 75 not out, his second fifty of the competition. Daniel Lamb made his debut in first XI cricket and scored 1 not out. He followed it up with a wicket in his ninth ball to dismiss Riki Wessels, but 103 not out from Samit Patel, supported by an unbeaten 77 from Steven Mullaney in a 181 fourth-wicket partnership was enough for the hosts to ease home with four overs to spare.

Leicestershire’s easy five-wicket win over Derbyshire at Grace Road took them up to seven points (alongside Durham) to give them an outside chance of qualification for the knockouts. Alex Hughes had scored just one run in the competition to date, but he made a career-best 96 not out to give Derbyshire a small chance at 219 all out. At 102 for four, the visitors sniffed a chance, but Ned Eckersley (80) and Lewis Hill (68 not out) put on 116 for the fifth wicket, and that was it with more than ten overs to spare.

In the South Group, the top two sides met at Taunton and started the day with ten points. Essex took charge with a challenging total of 334 for six, Tom Westley hitting a 98-ball century and Ravi Bopara finishing the innings unbeaten on 92. Johann Myburgh threatened to make mincemeat of the target, but was out for 57 (out of 64) in the seventh over having faced just 28 balls. Jim Allenby made a valiant 77, but the rest of the Somerset line-up fell away as Neil Wagner and Simon Harmer each took three wickets. The home side were all out for 262, but they are guaranteed a place in the knockout stages.

Surrey will know they can join them there if they win on Wednesday at Bristol, after they beat Hampshire by 66 runs (according to Duckworth/Lewis) at The Oval. The visitors batted first and it was a largely lone hand from George Bailey, who made 145 not out in 132 balls. He found proper support from Kyle Abbott (56) as the pair added 152 for  the eighth wicket – the first-ever century partnership for this wicket in the county’s history, as two of Hampshire’s six overseas-born players came good. Surrey could thank one of their own imports – Ravi Rampaul – who took four for 61 to keep Hampshire to 271 for eight. A second import, Kumar Sangakkara, then made 124 not out, taking Surrey up to 238 for two in 38 overs when the rain came. The Duckworth/Lewis target was 173, so victory was theirs.

Glamorgan’s campaign ended in Swansea with a 15-run victory over Kent in a game that saw almost 700 runs scored. Colin Ingram fell one short of his previous innings, as he was out for 114. William Bragg made a career highest score of 94, and the pair put on 212 for the third wicket. Even Andrew Salter got in on the action, hitting 29 not out in nine balls to see the hosts up to 356 for seven. They needed just about every run, as Darren Stevens, playing in his 300th List-A game hit a ridiculous career-best 147 off just 67 balls, including an astonishing 14 sixes, the most by any batsman this summer. It took him 28 balls to reach fifty and a further 20 balls to make his hundred, and when David Lloyd finally accounted for him, he had hit the previous three balls for four. Sadly for Kent, no one else stuck around, and they were bowled out for 341, with 16 balls still remaining.

Finally, Sussex returned to the Saffrons ground in Eastbourne, after an absence of 17 years, knowing that a win would put them in strong contention for the knockout games. Luke Wright led from the front with 84, but his side kept on throwing away their wickets with a series of aerial shots that unerringly seemed to pick out lone fielders. Chris Liddle picked up five for 52 (his second such haul this week), while former Eastbourne CC cricketer Tom Smith took three for 33 on his return to his old club and together they bowled out Sussex for 240. George Hankins made a career-best 67, but it was Jack Taylor who finished off the game with a belligerent and occasionally lucky 64 in 36 balls, falling only when the scores were level. Dropped catches and two injuries in the field marred Sussex’s performance, as they lost by six wickets with eight balls remaining. Their score of 241 for four was the highest ever by a visiting side at the Saffrons.

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