North Group: Worcestershire Rapids 225-6 (Kohler-Cadmore 127) beat Durham Jets 187-8 (Mustard 64; Leach 5-34) by 38 runs
A gander at ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ can easily be the clincher of an appetite for suspense for the aesthetically pleased. Plots that marvel us only exist in literature they say. But there are days, when Sport conjures up scripts which leave greats like Alexander Dumas a distant second best. This was such a day at the heart of Worcestershire.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore had already shaved his head at the start of the season as support to his best friend Tom Fell, who’s suffering from testicular cancer.
Fell was given the all-clear to play again today and the news had the largest legs to filter into New Road before the curtain raiser of this year’s Natwest T20 Blast.
And the organisers must be hung in the moon that it did. Kohler-Cadmore, promoted to open, blasted a surreal hundred that will inhabit in the memory of every eye that saw it.
The 21-year-old ended up with 127 off 54 balls inclusive of 14 fours and eight sixes. New Road hasn’t looked this small for a quite a while.
Records were rewritten in front of the watchful eyes, the most notable being Kohler-Cadmore making the highest score by a Worcestershire player, beating Graeme Hick’s 116 against Northants at Luton in 2004.
It was also the second fastest century by a Pear only behind Ben Smith’s which came in 42 balls and, overall, it’s the sixth fastest in English domestic T20 cricket.
The visitors having asked Rapids to bat firmly went to sleep at the wheel since the fifth over where Barry McCarthy was hit for a sequence of 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 4.
Some of the shots unfurled by Kohler-Cadmore were audacious to say the least, and the barmy atmosphere was never to stop.
He has shown he’s got the striker’s touch before but never the longevity to stay and go on. To stay within the barmy lines, it was as if he had bought champagne from a beer budget.
The Rapids were 169-4 when he departed to a rousing ovation and Worcestershire’s other hotshot of the times Brett D’Oliveira took it upon himself to clean the red carpet that Kohler-Cadmore had walked earlier by smashing 39 off 21 balls aided by Joe Leach (14 off six balls) to finish the innings at 225-6.
Barring a demolition derby by the Jets, it was always a case of the run rate catching up with them in their pursuit and that is probably the only script of the day that was of the garden-variety. Phil Mustard (64 off 49 balls) really gave it a go but the soaring asking rate always meant that heavy artillery was needed at regular periods.
That and Leach’s error-free death bowling (5-33) collaboratively put an end to their fight after Mitchell Santner had smothered any pending radical actions during the middle overs.
Durham would hope for better days where they are not at the receiving end of such fate.
At the end the man they call ‘Pepsi’, probably to the chagrin of the marketing heads of Coca Cola after his mad dash at New Road today, revitalised by the return of his best friend to cricket was too much to contend for.
Man of the Match: Tom Kohler-Cadmore. 127 runs. 54 balls. 14 fours. 8 sixes. Sometimes, the less said the better.