Worcestershire rode on Callum Ferguson’s fantastic half-century as they advanced to their first-ever Finals Day at the expense of their quarterfinal opposition Gloucestershire. On a rainy day in Edgbaston, Ferguson took up the task of anchoring his side in their small chase of 139, after Worcestershire made a mess of it at the start.
He watched the top-order around him self-combust before finding a worthy ally in Ross Whiteley, who ensured he did just about enough to keep the wickets column from ticking while the need of the hour for Worcestershire was a stable partnership. It was during this fortifying stand that Ferguson reached his half-century and ensured Gloucestershire were kept at an arm’s length from a late recovery.
Any faint hopes of such a comeback were well and truly quashed in the 16th over. David Payne began his over with Worcestershire still needing 41 to get from the last five, but by the time his tedious 11-ball over came to a halt, the target had more than halved. Payne bowled two wides and two no-balls, and went for two sixes too. The over finished with the wicket of Whiteley, but that didn’t even serve as a consolation for the truly battered Payne.
That over eased out the rest of the cruise for Gloucestershire, as they completed the chase with seven balls to spare. Before Ferguson could go about his effective repair work, a 26-year-old Brett D’Oliveira went a long way to enable it.
At 76 for 1 in 10 overs, Gloucestershire were in a comfortable position for a competitive total, despite losing Miles Hammond for a 31-ball 45.
And then D’Oliveira hit them.
In his first over, Oliveira had Michael Klinger dismissed. In his second, Benny Howell offered a catch back to him. In the third, he removed Ryan Higgins and Jack Taylor to leave Gloucestershire in complete doldrums. From 97 for 5 in 15 overs, they lost three more wickets and added 39 runs, which turned out to be too little.
Brief Scores: Gloucestershire 136/8 in 20 overs (Miles Hammond 45; Brett D’Oliveira 4-26) beat Worcestershire 137/5 in 18.5 overs (Callum Ferguson 64*; Benny Howell 2-22) by 5 wickets