Moeen Ali hit a superb 85 from 46 balls as Worcestershire Rapids chased down 185 to beat Birmingham in the T20 Blast at Edgbaston.

Meanwhile Kent missed out on a chance to go top of the South Group, losing by just one run against Surrey.

Alex Hales’ 60 helped Notts Outlaws beat Leicestershire while Jack Shutt took 5-11 in an unlikely Yorkshire win.

There were also victories for Gloucestershire and Derbyshire against Somerset and Northants respectively.

Ali finally finds form

Moeen Ali returned to Edgbaston, the scene of his torrid display for England in the first Ashes Test, as Worcestershire Rapids took on Birmingham .

The set the holders an imposing 185 as Moeen finished with figures of 1-30 from his three overs.

The hosts shared the runs as Sam Hain hit 46, Adam Hose struck 48, Matt Lamb added 35 and Michael Burgess finished with an unbeaten 28.

But the visitors raced out of the blocks in reply with New Zealand opener Martin Guptill hitting 27 off 16 balls before being caught off the bowling of Chris Green.

Alongside opener Riki Wessels (65 not out), the stage was set for a fairytale comeback for Moeen, playing only his second game of after being dropped from England’s Ashes squad.

And he reminded the England selectors just how dangerous he can be racing to 85 not out as the Rapids hit 188-1 to remain second in the North Group while the fall to eighth.

Kent miss chance to go top

Daniel Bell-Drummond

Kent had an opportunity to leapfrog Sussex at the top of the South Group table after the Sharks lost to Essex on Thursday.

They hosted a Surrey side who had won just three times in 11 Blast matches this campaign.

The visitors won the toss as ex-England opener Mark Stoneman and ’s both made good starts before falling in their 20s.

England’s Sam Curran also made a quick 23 off 21 balls as Surrey looked set for a big total.

But Surrey stalled and were 119-6 after 17 overs, before Will Jacks viciously accelerated to strike a career-best 63 from just 27 balls, aided by eight sixes, to leave Kent requiring 172 runs to win.

The hosts replied well as Daniel Bell-Drummond (64) and Zak Crawley (59) both hit half-centuries on their way to an opening stand of 115.

Yet the Spitfires still required 12 runs from the final over and a six from the final ball.

Heino Kuhn could only hit a four as Kent finished 170-3, falling to third in the table as Surrey rose to seventh.

Elsewhere in the South Group, Gloucestershire leapfrogged the Spitfires into second after a routine win at home to Somerset.

The hosts blasted their way to 189-4 as Mile Hammond struck a half-century and Michael Klinger raced to 74 off 52.

Pakistan international Babar Azam (44) and James Hildreth (40) looked to take the visitors into contention, but Tom Smith was the pick of the bowlers with 3-19 as Gloucestershire bowled Somerset all out for 164.

Hales stars in North Group’s other action

Meanwhile, two of the North Group’s pacesetters met at Grace Road as third-placed Notts Outlaws took on fourth-placed Leicestershire.

The visitors restricted the Foxes to 161-8 as Harry Swindells top scored with 61 from 47 balls, while Notts bowler Luke Fletcher took 3-17 from three overs.

But it was a total that always looked 20 runs under par as the Outlaws chased it down with seven balls to spare, aided by Hales’ 60 off 39 balls and 47 from Ben Duckett.

Alex Hales

Northamptonshire’s poor form continued as they lost their last seven wickets for 17 runs to end 100 all out after 18 overs against Derbyshire.

Falcons all-rounder Alex Hughes took 3-13 while Ravi Rampaul and Fynn Hudson-Prentice both picked up two wickets each.

Derbyshire easily chased down Northants’ total, losing just one wicket in the process as Wayne Madsen (51 not out) picked up a 42-ball half-century.

The results sees Northants drop to bottom of the North Group, as the Falcons climb to fourth.

Yorkshire had started the day bottom of the North Group with just one win and in desperate need of a victory away to Durham.

They seemed to have posted a difficult total of 146-6 at a low scoring Chester-le-Street with opener Tom Kohler-Cadmore striking a classy 52 off 42 deliveries, even if Nathan Rimmington frustrated the visitors with bowling figures of 3-16 off his three overs.

But Durham looked in control at 70-0 before an unlikely collapse saw the hosts bowled out for 131 as the Vikings won by 15 runs.

Off-spinner Jack Shutt claimed career-best figures as the 22-year-old, playing in just his fourth T20 fixture, took an impressive 5-11 from his four overs.

What’s next?

Just the two T20 Blast games for you on Saturday.

Sussex will look to extend their lead at the top of the South Group away to , while Somerset will hope to bounce back from their defeat at Gloucestershire as they host Glamorgan.

Then on Sunday there’s five more fixtures as the Group Stages start to be decided.


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