After Thursday’s Natwest T20 Blast fixture list was hit hard by the rain, Friday’s round of games enjoyed far better fortunes.
Reigning champions Northants succumbed to a five-wicket defeat to Worcestershire, largely down a quick-fire 77 off 43 by Richard Oliver.
The Steelbacks were hoping for a repeat performance from David Willey after he hit an explosive 95 off 45 balls in their opening win over Leicestershire, but a respectable 34 from the 24-year-old was not enough, as the Rapids battled back.
England new-boy Moeen Ali starred with two wickets and a knock of 41 to remind national coach Peter Moores of his credentials.
Like Northants, Sussex had been frustrated on Thursday as their game against Middlesex was abandoned without a ball being bowled. That left them fresher than they might have been against Glamorgan, but they still lost out by five wickets.
Despite his absence through injury, Sussex wicketkeeper Matt Prior looked as comfortable as ever at the crease, scoring a cool 39 to help the Sharks along the way.
Prior to the game, all eyes were on World Cup winner Darren Sammy, who was putting on a Glamorgan jersey for the first time. However, the former West Indies captain failed to take any wickets.
Sammy was not the only high-profile debutant on offer, though, as Australian Aaron Finch made his first appearance for Yorkshire in their 8-wicket win over Derbyshire.
Yet, after his explosive performances in the IPL, he was fairly ordinary for Jason Gillespie’s side, managing just 19 before being caught and bowled by Marcus North, though it admittedly took him just 17 balls.
Derbyshire continue their miserable season, as they now sit bottom of Division Two in the County Championship and are winless in T20.
Lancashire, meanwhile, had been having a remarkable week, buoyed by the news that Andrew Flintoff will be making a return for the county, and could debut in next week’s Roses match against Yorkshire.
Their week was only to get better as they defeated the Birmingham Bears by 15 runs to add to their 1-run victory over Durham a day earlier.
Durham recovered from that defeat with a 3-run win over Notts Outlaws, despite struggling to 132-8. In truly dramatic fashion that only the T20 Blast is capable of, it went right down to the wire as Ben Stokes caught out Sam Wood off the bowling of Chris Rushworth.
It was a result that was certainly unfair on Steven Mullaney, though, who had taken four wickets off his four overs to put the Outlaws in control.
Perhaps the most disappointed contingent from the day’s cricket will have been the Surrey fans who crammed into the Kia Oval to watch the long-awaited return of Kevin Pietersen, who ended up missing out against Middlesex due to a finger injury.
Just a week after suffering relegation in the IPL with Delhi Daredevils, KP endured more disappointment as he was ruled out, but Surrey’s result will no doubt have cheered him up; indeed, they did not appear to miss the former England batsman too much, as they still raced to a six-wicket triumph against Middlesex, who remain winless.
Elsewhere, Sean Irvine made his 100th T20 appearance for Hampshire, and he got the happy ending he was hoping for as Hants won by eight wickets against the Essex Eagles.
Kent Spitfires were also victorious against Gloucestershire, who could not reach their target of 137 with a mediocre performance.
The next full round of fixtures will take place on Friday June 6, featuring Surrey against Essex and Yorkshire vs Lancashire.
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