Tom Taylor scored his second eye-catching century of the competition but it was Worcestershire who took the points at Wantage Road.
A 194 run partnership between loanee Rob Jones and Jake Libby controlled the chase for the visitors. The pair settled the Rapids’ nerves after Tom Taylor took two early wickets, eventually securing victory in the 44th over by 7 wickets.
Taylor had struck an excellent 100 off 80 balls, his second century of this year’s campaign to rescue the Steelbacks from a perilous 139 for seven with Dillon Pennington taking three for 47.
The in-form Steelbacks all-rounder had looked a class apart after Northamptonshire lost three middle order wickets for 18 runs, all to shots drilled straight to fielders. He put on 108 with James Sales (25), striking 14 fours and one huge six onto the roof of the Turner Stand, but chose his shots intelligently, finding the gaps and striking the ball cleanly.
Northamptonshire’s hopes were dealt a big blow before play when Prithvi Shaw, the tournament’s leading run scorer, was ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury. The Indian international who scored a club List A record 244 against Somerset last week, sustained the injury during the county’s win over Durham on Sunday. Scan results received by the club this morning revealed the injury was worse than initially expected.
Put into bat, Northamptonshire lost two early wickets and while Ricardo Vasconcelos made 25, he became Pennington’s second victim when he edged low to Josh Baker at second slip.
Rob Keogh and Luke Procter started to rebuild in a partnership of 49. Keogh looked fluent, and undeterred after being struck on the helmet by Logan van Beek, he clipped off his legs and pulled Pat Brown to the ropes. His downfall came in tame fashion though when he drove a ball from Brown loosely to point on 35. Brown struck again in his next over when Justin Broad drilled him straight to cover.
Luke Procter (31) had driven nicely and timed two late cuts behind square off one van Beek over. But he had a rush of blood and came down the track to Baker, attempting to hit the ball over the inner circle only to pick out Gareth Roderick who took a good catch above his head.
Lewis McManus (15) and Taylor attempted to steady the ship in a stand of 34. McManus dispatched Baker down the ground for six but came forward to Waite and yorked himself as his leg-stump was knocked over with Northamptonshire in real trouble at 139 for seven.
In walked Taylor who timed the ball from the get-go, striking Baker back over his head, pulling Waite and Pennington dismissively and hitting Brown down the ground, as well as sweeping the spinners adeptly.
Sales hit one early boundary but was content to play the supporting role alongside Taylor until he was trapped lbw by Pennington. Van Beek then struck twice in the penultimate over to wrap up the innings, Taylor the last to go, caught at long-off.
Taylor struck in the opening over of the chase, when Roderick was adjudged to have chopped the ball onto his pads, before rebounding to Gay who took the catch at second slip.
Ed Pollock had some fun punching down the ground before playing one big shot too many and being caught at deep backward square leg off Taylor.
Just three boundaries came in Jones and Libby’s first 50 runs together as they rebuilt, but they kept the run rate over five throughout, advancing towards their target with relative comfort. With Jones starting to fire, Libby too located the boundary ropes as the runs kept coming.
Northamptonshire brought in the field and shuffled their bowlers but gifted the Rapids three lifelines which cost them dear. Libby was dropped by McManus on 29 and had another stroke of luck on 60 when Gay put down an easy chance at mid-off off Kerrigan. Jones meanwhile was put down by Broad off his own bowling on 77. He made the most of the reprieve as he advanced to three figures before finally falling, caught in the deep off Kerrigan. A six from Kashif Ali took Worcestershire to the brink of victory, before Libby scored the winning run.