Cricket

George Rhodes ton keeps Worcestershire in pursuit of knockouts, ends Yorkshire interest

May 4, 2019

Worcestershire 293 for 7 (Rhodes 106, Cox 87, Patterson 4-45) Yorkshire 143 (Parnell 5-25, Barnard 3-26) by 150 runs

Steve Rhodes might have left Worcestershire in unfortunate circumstances when he was sacked as director of cricket in late 2017, but his son George remained to prove his mettle and that decision was rewarded against Yorkshire with a maiden List A hundred which laid the foundations for a 150-run hammering.

Rhodes is now coach of Bangladesh, his failure immediately to tell Worcestershire’s hierarchy about a rape investigation into Alex Hepburn, who was jailed for five years this week, now behind him. When he arrives in England with Bangladesh for the forthcoming World Cup, it will be with the knowledge that George has improved his chances of continuing his county career when his contract expires at the end of the season.

George Rhodes teamed up with Ben Cox in a Worcestershire record stand for the fifth wicket in List A cricket – 169 in 28 overs, which rescued them from the perils of 62 for 4. Pessimistic judges were talking of an eventual score of 200 on a nibbling and used pitch, but they finished with 293 for 7. Cox, back from illness, was his usual spritely self in a stand bubbling over with good running, but if Yorkshire had had the enterprise to post a slip when Duanne Olivier returned for a second spell, he might have fallen on 29. Instead, he was 87 from 86 balls when he flat-batted Steve Patterson to long-on.

Yorkshire never challenged after that. Wayne Parnell, bowling at times with impressive pace, took his second five-wicket haul of the week after his 5 for 24 against Nottinghamshire. He dismissed the Yorkshire top three and ended with 5 for 25 from seven overs.

Yorkshire’s coach, Andrew Gale, afterwards lamented another below-par performance. With the Worcester Gin Festival in full swing, he might have been tempted to suggest a detour for the team coach on the way home.

“We were poor and below average,” Gale said. “I thought we did really up well until about 25 overs into the game. You have to give Worcestershire some credit. I thought they did really well – Cox and Rhodes.

“But it just about sums our tournament up. We couldn’t do the good things for long enough, and second half we were below par. As soon as we lost a couple of wickets, we were never in the game. I’m as frustrated as the lads in there. They’re down. I just don’t think we did what were doing well for long enough.”

Worcestershire, who now have five wins in seven, still need to beat Derbyshire in their final match in Derby on Monday to be sure of a top-three finish. They could potentially top the North Group for the third successive year, which would be a wonderfully consistent return for one of the smaller counties; Steve Rhodes had a sizeable hand in that. Yorkshire are eliminated.

George is the third generation of Rhodes to play county cricket and since his debut in 2016 (also against Yorkshire) he can rarely have played with the freedom he exhibited in the latter stages of his 106 from 111 balls. Patterson, Yorkshire’s angular seamer, had conceded 22 off his first eight overs, but 23, including a leg bye, came off his next as Rhodes showed both invention by lapping the bowler to fine leg and then power with a hearty blow over midwicket.

An uppish push through the covers, off Olivier, brought up that 100, his first in any of the three formats in a so-far moderate career. He survived a bear hug from Parnell, but was bowled by Pillans attempting something outrageous to the last ball of the innings. At 25, he will need a few more interventions like this for Worcestershire to retain faith. He would have been unlikely to play had not Daryl Mitchell sat out the match with a back injury.

Rhodes survived a few half chances along the way: a drive at Patterson, on 9, which just fell short of deep cover and would have left Worcestershire 69 for 5; a reprieve at backward point on 57 when he advanced to Josh Poysden’s legspin, a tough chance this for Mat Pillans; and another demanding half-chance to Tim Bresnan at deep midwicket on 62, one of three successive boundaries against Poysden.

Yorkshire’s restructured attack lacks pace and does not invite confidence for the months ahead, but a responsive New Road surface gave them hope. Patterson took three in his opening spell, Riki Wessels driving to cover, a failed leg-side loft by Tom Fell and a good catch at backward point by Gary Ballance to silence Brett D’Oliveira. There was a wicket, too, for Bresnan, who cuts a companiable figure these days, but whose sedate nip-backer took the vital wicket of Callum Ferguson.

Yorkshire rattled up 46 in nine overs easily enough but Parnell’s introduction brought a rapid capitulation – a bottom edge from Adam Lyth, a duck for Harry Brook and Tom Kohler-Cadmore bowled through the gate against his former county. Ed Barnard then darkened Yorkshire’s mood. Worcestershire’s only vulnerable bowler was Pat Brown, last season’s stand-out bowler in T20 cricket, but taken for 50 in six overs. Without that bonus, Yorkshire’s defeat would have been even heavier.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1183221.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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