Hick stars in Royals win

Source - sportinglife.com

Graeme Hick smashed a dazzling century as Worcestershire clinched their first Twenty20 Cup win of the season with a five-run victory over Northamptonshire at Kidderminster.

The former England batsman smacked 110 to help power his side to 227 for six - their highest score in the competition.

Despite a splendid 111 not out by Lance Klusener, Northants were restricted to 222 for three to give Worcestershire a well-deserved triumph in an entertaining Midlands, West and Wales Division fixture which they were forced to switch to Kidderminster due to severe flooding at their New Road headquarters.

Battling Klusener notched six sixes and ten fours off 29 overs but after an exciting final over, bowled by paceman Kabir Ali, Northants fell just short of the required 16 runs.

It was the first time in worldwide Twenty20 cricket that a batsman from each side has scored a century.

After Worcestershire skipper Vikram Solanki had won the toss, he and man-of-the-match Hick rapidly set about battering the Northants attack.

By the time their hard-hitting partnership was broken they had plundered 175 in 14 overs, which broke the first-wicket record in Twenty20 cricket.

Hick, who performed for Kidderminster in the Birmingham league while qualifying to play for Worcestershire, quickly felt at home by blasting the ball to all sides of the ground.

When he was eventually out - caught at short fine-leg by Klusener off pace man Stephen Crook - he had smashed eight sixes and ten fours off 49 balls.

It was the evergreen 41-year-old's second century in the competition.

Solanki followed shortly afterwards when he walked across a Crook delivery trying to play down the leg side and was trapped lbw for 58. He hammered one six and eight fours off 41 balls.

Once he was out Worcestershire began to slide, with Moeen Ali mis-timing a full toss off pace man Johannes van der Wath and Roger Sillence being castled by Klusener before Gareth Batty was run out.

All three failed to reach double figures but Kabir was undefeated on 20 off seven balls.

Openers Klusener and Usman Afzaal gave Northants a rapid start to their run chase with an eight-over stand that yielded 92.

It ended when Afzaal hoisted a boundary catch to Nadeem Malik off Batty for 35. Klusener then went on to add 104 in ten overs with David Sales, who was out for 52 when he skied Kabir to Solanki at extra cover.
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