Ben Stokes Durham Jets
The Durham Jets suffered back-to-back defeats as a final-over burst saw the Worcestershire Rapids win by five wickets in the Natwest T20 Blast North Group.
With 15 required from the final over, Gareth Andrew blasted ten from two balls before Ross Whiteley ended matters with a six as the Rapids gained revenge for their defeat at Emirates Durham ICG back in May.
Calum Macleod and Gordon Muchall earlier put on 72 from 47 balls as the Jets posted 105, but it proved not enough in the end as Whiteley closed proceedings with two balls left.
Play looked unlikely earlier in the day but an improvement in weather conditions and the hard work of Worcestershire’s ground staff ensured there was a shortened game of 13 overs-per-side.
Paul Collingwood was left out as a precaution after injuring a finger against the Birmingham Bears, with Keaton Jennings drafted in for a T20 debut.
Rapids captain Daryl Mitchell won the toss and elected to bowl first on a pitch which appeared to suit his slow bowlers.
The Jets once again suffered a poor start, as they did on Friday night against the Bears. Mark Stoneman pulled Chris Russell to Alexei Kervezee on the mid-wicket boundary before Phil Mustard followed immediately after, surprised by a ball that found extra bounce and edging through to Ben Cox behind the stumps.
Ben Stokes survived the hat-trick delivery and set about posting a challenging total, hitting Russell for four through the leg-side before Jack Shantry was taken for 14 in the very next over.
He perished soon after for 24, striking Colin Munro’s first ball straight into the hands of Gareth Andrew at long-on, as the Jets stumbled on 33/3.
Crucially, in-form batsman Macleod remained at the crease and he set about posting a challenging total. Mitchell was the first bowler to feel the heat, taken for successive sixes in the seventh over, before new batsman Muchall tucked into Russell as the pair upped the run-rate with three overs remaining.
One Muchall boundary looked to be a six as Richard Oliver caught the ball while his foot appeared to be touching the rope, but a four was given.
Boundaries proved hard to come by as Saeed Ajmal bowled his three overs in typically miserly fashion, but another huge Macleod six from the penultimate ball set the home side 106 to win.
Chris Rushworth and John Hastings proved effective in the opening overs and the pressure told on Mitchell, who steered the Australian into the hands of Stokes at deep square leg.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore rode his luck twice off Rushworth, edging through a vacant slip area on two occasions, before the brakes were applied by T20 debutant Jennings and Usman Arshad.
Oliver fell cutting Arshad straight to Stokes at backward point as just 32 runs were added in five middle overs.
Hastings returned to see off New Zealand international Munro and Kohler-Cadmore in successive balls, but Whiteley struck two huge sixes off his next over to keep the home side in the game.
With 22 needed from two overs, Arshad completed a magnificent spell of controlled bowling under pressure, hitting a yorker-length with unerring accuracy and the Jets looked the favourites going into the last over.
However, Andrew and Whiteley combined to see the home side to victory, with Rushworth’s dismissal of Andrew only a consolation the Rapids snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Durham face Lancashire in a crucial four-day fixture starting on Sunday 15 June at Emirates Durham ICG, before the Jets play host to the Leicestershire Foxes on Friday 20 June."