Gladiators defeat the Royals as Yorkshire book their Quarter Final place - Thursday 5th July
Gloucestershire turned on the style during a sunny evening in Bristol as they beat group leaders Worcestershire to lay the foundations for an exciting finish to the Midland/West/Wales group.
After losing Moeen Ali (4) and top scorer Phil Hughes (8) early on James Cameron (32) steadied the Worcestershire innings before Gareth Andrew (43) and Daryl Mitchell (31) accelerated their team to 159-6. Gloucestershire had bowled well with Ian Saxelby and Liam Norwell taking two wickets each but would have been disappointed to have let the Royals score over 60 runs from the last five overs. However they never looked in trouble as they chased their target despite losing Benny Howell in the first over. Hamish Marshall (72) and debutant Ed Cowan (70) controlled the match wonderfully, spraying shots around the ground in a partnership of 142. Daryl Mitchell (2-26) dismissed both of them but Alex Gidman saw his team home with 7 wickets and 2 overs to spare. Gloucestershire looked impressive against a strong Worcestershire side and, despite a slow start to the tournament, will now have their sights firmly set on the quarter finals. It promises an exciting finish to a tight group with Worcestershire, Somerset, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire all chasing the two automatic places.
Life is slightly easier for Yorkshire in the North group as they booked their place in the Quarter finals in another impressive win. It was the turn of Nottinghamshire to be beaten as Yorkshire chased the total down with 6 wickets and 2 overs to spare. Notts batted first and ominously lost Rikki Wessels to the first ball of the game. They eventually made 148-6 from their twenty overs which was largely thanks to a well crafted 70 from Adam Voges. In reply Yorkshire's top order steered them to victory with good contributions from Jacques (58), Lyth (33) and Root (27) to inflict the Outlaws first defeat of the season. Nottinghamshire will still make the quarter finals if they can record a victory in either of their final two matches against Derbyshire or Leicestershire.
In the South group, Essex limped over the line from a strong position as they beat Middlesex by two wickets. In a superb team bowling performance Essex dismissed a below par Middlesex side for just 109, with two wickets apiece for Topley and ten Doeschate. Joe Denly (53) was the only batsman to trouble the scorers as the batting lineup flopped to leave the bowlers with a hard task in the second innings. The Eagles seemed like they were soaring to victory as they reached 77-1 thanks to Mark Pettini (50) and Smith (27) before a dramatic collapse which nearly produced the unlikeliest of results. Tom Smith and debutant Ollie Wilkin took three wickets each as Essex tried their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory but they held their nerve to secure a vital win by just two wickets.
The final game of the day was played at the Oval as Kent beat a woeful Surrey team who stay rooted to the bottom of the South Group. In front of a bumper crowd of 13,500 Kent recorded 136-8 during their first innings with Robert Key (35) and Alex Blake (35) leading the attack. However the home team could not give their supporters something to cheer about as the Lion's reply got off to a awful start with Kevin Pietersen removed for just 7 runs in the first over. It was only a sign of things to come as Azhar Mahmood (3-12), Mark Davies (2-18) and Adam Riley (2-15) tore the Lions apart and bowled them out for a meagre 88. The win keeps Kent's hopes of making the quarter finals alive but they will have to rely on results elsewhere going their way as they lie 4th in the South Group.