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Gladiators ease into Finals Day

Kadeer Ali, Hamish Marshall and Chris Taylor all scored over 30 as Gloucestershire Gladiators defeated Worcestershire Royals by seven wickets in a rain-hit Twenty20 Cup quarter-final at Bristol.

Vikram Solanki (47) and Ben Smith (37) were the main contributors as Worcestershire made 123 for six off 17 overs in an innings twice interrupted by rain.

But Gloucestershire, set a revised target of 129 in 17 overs under the Duckworth Lewis method, eased to victory with 17 balls left.

Ali (39), Marshall (36) and Taylor (31no) all scored at better than a run a ball as Gloucestershire reached the Twenty20 Cup Finals Day for the first time since 2003.

Gloucestershire's run chase had got off to a good start when Kabir Ali conceded 20 in his opening over, including one delivery which went for four leg side wides.

Craig Spearman skied a delivery from Dewald Nel to wicketkeeper Steven Davies to depart in the next over, but Marshall then put Gloucestershire firmly in control by cracking six fours in a 20-ball innings.

Worcestershire hopes rose when Marshall, who made a century against them in the group match at Kidderminster, cut a delivery from Daryl Mitchell into the hands of Gareth Batty on the cover boundary.

But Kadeer and Taylor took Gloucestershire to within 17 runs of victory with some fine stroke play in a stand of 53 in six overs.

Kadeer, who struck two sixes in his 37-ball innings, was bowled by Mitchell but a few more big hits from Taylor and Alex Gidman completed the win.

A wet outfield had delayed the start by half an hour and the first rain interruption came after just two deliveries from Gloucestershire captain Jon Lewis, who had won the toss.

When play resumed, Carl Greenwich dismissed Graeme Hick and Phil Jaques in his opening two overs to leave the Royals on 15 for two.

Hick got a leading edge to give Lewis a simple catch at mid-on, while Jaques was bowled by a delivery moved away off the seam as he pushed forward.

Greenwich had two for two off nine balls at that stage but then conceded 27 off his next nine deliveries before being withdrawn from the attack.

Lewis, meanwhile, showed why he is in contention for a place in England's Twenty20 World Cup squad by cleverly varying his pace and length in a four-over spell that cost only 15 runs, 11 of which came from his first one.

Solanki and Smith revived the innings in impressive fashion and had taken the score to 94 for two, off 12.5 overs, when play was halted for 20 minutes by rain.

Worcestershire's innings was reduced by three overs as a consequence and Solanki and Smith were both dismissed within eight balls of the resumption.

Solanki was stumped by Steve Adshead off Ian Fisher, having struck seven fours in his 41-ball innings, while Smith clipped Ben Edmondson to Gidman at short fine leg, having hit six fours in his 32-ball innings.

Left arm spinner Fisher struck twice more with the last two balls of the 19th over as Roger Sillence hit a full toss to Greenwich at long on and Kabir was beaten in the flight and bowled.

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