T20 Blast: Worcestershire Rapids beat Lancashire Lightning by 20 runs in semi-final
|Vitality Blast semi-final, Edgbaston|
|Worcestershire Rapids 169-6 (20 overs): Cox 55*, Moeen 41; Parkinson 2-23|
|Lancashire Lightning 149-9 (20 overs): Jennings 51*, Livingstone 30; Brown 4-21, Moeen 2-16|
|Worcestershire beat Lancashire by 20 runs|
Worcestershire reached their first T20 Blast final as they upset the odds to beat Lancashire by 20 runs.
The Rapids were struggling at 97-6, but Ben Cox's half-century (55 off 34 balls) in company with Ed Barnard (28 off 19) saw them to 169-6.
Skipper Moeen Ali then took 2-16, including the key wicket of England team-mate Jos Buttler for 12, while Patrick Brown bagged 4-21 at the death.
England opener Keaton Jennings was 51 not out in Lancashire's 149-9.
England all-rounder Moeen also weighed in with a crucial 41 with the bat.
Although failing to match the two one-day centuries he had smashed on this ground with Worcestershire earlier this summer, it was his early hitting which helped the men in blue hoist their 50 inside the sixth over.
After Joe Clarke had gone cheaply, James Faulkner's steepling catch removed Moeen, Brett D'Oliveira was run out without facing a ball and Buttler stumped Tom Fell.
But Faulkner was forced out of the attack with a calf injury, restricting him to only two overs, and Barnard and Cox - who also shared a rapid unbroken 107 in the One-Day Cup semi-final against Kent in June - steadied the ship with a stand of 72.
Largely thanks to Cox's three consecutive sixes off Toby Lester, who went for 53 from his four overs, they posted a competitive score.
And although Lancashire got through the powerplay for the loss of Alex Davies, who was run out, Worcestershire kept up the pressure with good bowling.
Once Moeen had bowled Buttler off his pads, the Midlanders were on course for a deserved victory, which was guaranteed by Brown taking three wickets in the penultimate over.
The only disappointment was that so few Worcestershire supporters were at Edgbaston to see it, after being granted an allocation of only 470 tickets.