Moeen Ali steers Pears to victory over Sussex

Moeen Ali in action
Moeen Ali in action

Moeen Ali hit a superb undefeated century as Worcestershire defeated Sussex by eight wickets in their Vitality Blast quarter-final at Hove.

Moeen, dropped by England during the Ashes series with Australia, steered his county to a win which reprised their victory against the same opposition in last year's final.

The Rapids captain led by example with a classy 121 not out off just 60 balls which saw his side home with 14 balls to spare.

He reached his century from 50 balls and with his ninth six, over backward square-leg off Will Beer.

Moeen also settled the match with his 11th maximum and also hit eight fours. He was well supported by Riki Wessels, who made a 46-ball 47 in a second-wicket stand of 177.

The Sharks got off to a great start when the Rapids batted and Reece Topley bowled Joe Leach with the third ball of the innings.

But Alex Carey dropped Moeen for just five off Ollie Robinson in the second over. When Moeen was dropped again, this time by David Wiese on the boundary, he was on 78 and the match was all but won.

By the time he was put down a third time, by Topley, he had his hundred and the tie was in the bag.

The Sharks had put earlier together a first-wicket stand of 84 in 8.5 overs between captain Luke Wright and Phil Salt to set them up for a competitive total.

Salt reached his fifty from 31 deliveries, but in the same Daryl Mitchell over, which went for 16 runs, Wright was out for a 22-ball 28, caught by Ed Barnard.

Sussex were well placed at 94 for one at the halfway stage. Mitchell's second over went for 22 as Salt again hit him for two sixes but then the batsman was caught at long-on.

Mitchell had been expensive but he had disposed of both of the Sharks openers. Salt's 40-ball 72 included five fours and five sixes.

It was the beginning of a Sussex collapse which saw them lose three wickets in two overs.

Carey, back in the side after returning from the Australia squad, skied Barnard to keeper Ben Cox for just eight and then, two balls later, the big-hitting Wiese had his middle stump uprooted first ball by Barnard.

When Delray Rawlins skied a return catch to Moeen for just five the Rapids had fought their right back into the game.

Chris Jordan was caught behind for only two to leave the Sharks 146 for six in the 17th over.

But an unbeaten 43 from 31 balls by Laurie Evans ensured a strong Sussex total.

Evans struck five fours, two off the last two balls of the innings bowled by Pat Brown.

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