Hick rolls back the years in Royals win

Source - sportinglife.com

First-wicket pair Graeme Hick and Vikram Solanki smashed 143 in 15 overs at New Road as Worcestershire reversed a string of Twenty20 Cup defeats by Gloucestershire.

Beaten three times by their neighbours last season - twice in the group and again in The quarter-finals - they charged to a target of 169 with a dozen balls to spare.

Hick, still one of the most destructive county batsmen at the age of 42, cruised to 50 from 33 deliveries and became the 11th player to complete 1,000 runs in the competition on reaching 71 in his 28th innings.

Gloucestershire looked a beaten team when successive overs from Carl Greenidge and Anthony Ireland cost 37 runs. Left-arm spinner Ian Fisher managed to pull back the rate in a tidy spell but it was a lost cause as Hick pushed on to an unbeaten 88 including 11 fours and a six from 58 balls.

Solanki was only just behind his partner in posting his own half-century in 37 balls but went for 51 when driving Ireland to mid-off.

Worcestershire had to take on last year's defeated finalists without two international bowlers. Simon Jones was ruled out by a virus and Gareth Batty, the county's only specialist spinner, will be out for seven to 10 days because of a calf injury.

The regular new-ball pair justified Solanki's decision to field first by shifting the openers in the first five overs.

Craig Spearman lifted Steve Magoffin for six over mid-wicket before steering the Australian to Solanki at backward point and Daryl Mitchell dived to his left at cover to intercept Hamish Marshall's crashing drive off Kabir Ali.

Gloucestershire then launched a strong counter-attack with successive half-century stands featuring the hard-hitting Aussie, Marcus North.

Chris Taylor timed his shots better than anyone with eight fours until he was caught at third man off Chris Whelan for 39 but two brilliant catches by Ben Smith checked the west country side's momentum.

With North on 45 from 33 balls, Smith ran round the boundary from square leg to hold a skier off Whelan and at the start of he next over from Mitchell, he kept his balance at third man to take a chance from Alex Gidman (22).

Gloucestershire finished on 168 for nine after both Ian Fisher and Jon Lewis were run out in the final over.
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