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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Sam Hain strikes memorable 161 not out to lead Warwickshire win

Sam Hain gets forward to drive PA Photos

Warwickshire 315 for 5 (Hain 161*, Banks 44) beat Worcestershire 281 (Parnell 76, Fell 53, Patel 3-37) by 34 runs

The retirement of Jonathan Trott, an injury to Ian Bell that will rule him out of the entire Royal London Cup and a must-win game. Such circumstance has dictated that Sam Hain has transitioned in the eyes of Warwickshire supporters from talented youngster to battle-hardened senior overnight. A career-best, unbeaten 161 meant that he did not disappoint.

Few county batsmen have such an outstanding record in List A cricket as Hain. That was already known. But his presence can rarely have felt more central to Warwickshire's chances than the super-cool approach that laid the foundations of a 34-run win against their closest rivals, Worcestershire.

Already a name to be reckoned with as far as his fellow professionals are concerned, perhaps he is about to become a name to be known.

A lesser one-day batting side than Worcestershire would have been marmalised by Hain's innings, which underpinned Warwickshire's highest List A score against Worcestershire.

An opening stand of 86 in 12 overs by Hamish Rutherford and Riki Wessels was a good base for a 316 chase but Jeetan Patel's mid-innings intervention on a pitch offering some turn dragged them back to 145 for 7 only for Wayne Parnell's belligerent 75 from No. 9 to delay the kill and underline Worcestershire's batting depth.

That makes 10 List A hundreds for Hain now at an average of 57. Compare that to James Vince, who is increasingly discussed as a World Cup possibility, but who averages 41. The difference is in the strike rates. Vince's 98 runs per 100 balls is where it needs to be; Hain's 85 sounds as if it comes from a more cautious age.

A Warwickshire middle order including all of Trott, Bell and Hain exemplified that cautious age. It dealt in building blocks, it certainly had ample class to win games, especially on problematic pitches, but there was no sense of imminent danger: it might have been designed by an ECB Health and Safety executive. The Warwickshire that Paul Farbrace, the new coach, must build around Hain is likely to surround him with greater aggression.

Hain's half-century took 69 balls, brought up by heaving a full toss from legspinner Brett D'Oliveira over midwicket for six, but more in tune with the mood of his innings was the deflection backward of point off Wayne Parnell that brought his first boundary in the ninth over.

It was 19 overs before he risked another boundary, a none-too-confident down-the-pitch blow against Mitchell's 55 mph tempters. He appears to be a bulkier figure these days, but he had announced his arrival at the crease unobtrusively, gaining control without excess.

Early movement and the loss of three wickets by the 15th over had justified Hain's cautious approach. There was a wicket apiece for three Worcestershire seamers - Ed Pollock uppercutting to third man, Dom Sibley driving to short midwicket and Will Rhodes out to a square drive.

But Hain and Liam Banks, a 19-year-old batsman who is impressing in his debut season, then righted matters with a stand of 99 in 17 as Worcestershire settled for containment too readily. Alex Thomson helped build on that in a subsequent stand of 103 in 14.

Hain was reprieved on 90, by Mitchell at midwicket. Soon afterwards, came his final surge - perhaps a new element in his came that will one day bring international recognition. He struck five more sixes in the last seven overs, against Parnell and Chris Morris, the most resounding of them a legside blow of one knee against Morris.

"The wicket was a little bit tacky," Hain said. "There was a bit of moisture underneath so I found it hard initially to put pressure back on the bowlers. I made the decision to see it through and then try and catch up at the back end of the innings."

In reply, Worcestershire burned then crashed. Patel is a class act, both as offspinner and captain, but on a surface that (the first few overs apart) spelled doom for the seamers, he should have been dealt with more respectfully.

Wessels is a hot-spell cricketer so when he was bowled through the gate it was understandable; less so D'Oliveira who weakly played all round one. Ben Cox swept to square leg - the product of aggressive field placing. Five wickets fell for 18 runs - three to Patel in an initial spell of 7-3-17-3.

The run out of Daryl Mitchell helped. Hain had a role in that, too, with a direct hit, running in from point. Whatever his statistics suggest, it is difficult to escape the impression that his future is more likely to be in Test cricket than a limited-overs game increasingly characterised by violent strokeplay. Perhaps only he needs to believe it.

Derby rivalries insist that it is referenced that it is Worcestershire who retain ambitions for a top-three spot while Warwickshire's qualification chances are only theoretical, but Patel summed up the difference - Hain apart - between the sides. "In this competition it's all about who can take wickets through the middle overs," he said. "We won by front-footing Worcestershire."

Worcs 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st86MH WesselsHD Rutherford
2nd0HD RutherfordTC Fell
3rd3DKH MitchellTC Fell
4th1BL D'OliveiraTC Fell
5th14OB CoxTC Fell
6th27RA WhiteleyTC Fell
7th14TC FellEG Barnard
8th64WD ParnellTC Fell
9th52WD ParnellJC Tongue
10th20WD ParnellCAJ Morris