Yorkshire Bank 40: Gloucestershire (251-8) beat Glamorgan (247-7) by two wickets
GLOUCESTERSHIRE kept their hopes of reaching the Yorkshire Bank 40 (YB40) semi-final hopes alive with a dramatic two-wicket victory over Glamorgan.
James Fuller hit the winning runs off the penultimate ball of the match to move them level on points at the top of Group C with Somerset, who they meet in the final game on Monday, August 26 at Bristol.
In a thrilling chase full of twists and turns, Gloucestershire appeared to be cruising to their target of 248 at 154-1 with captain Michael Klinger leading the way, surpassing 1,000 runs in one-day cricket this season with a fine 87, but they lost their way and were left needing 34 off the final three overs with five wickets left.
Some big hitting from Benny Howell, who scored 23 in 14 balls, swung the pendulum back Gloucestershire's way as former England international Simon Jones (2-61) went for 17 in his final over.
The drama continued as Graham Wagg (2-61) picked up the wickets of Howell and Gareth Roderick (14) but went for 12 runs in the penultimate over.
Although Tom Smith (1) was caught and bowled by Michael Hogan (2-48) with two runs needed off three balls, Payne (1*) scampered through for a quick single, leaving Fuller (7*) to smash the winning boundary off his legs.
Glamorgan, who could still top the group themselves as they are two points behind and have two games remaining, scored 247-7 after opting to bat first with Gareth Rees hitting 83.
Too many short deliveries from Craig Miles and Fuller allowed Glamorgan to get off to a flying start with Rees regularly hooking the ball to the boundary in an opening stand of 53 in less than nine overs before he lost opening partner Mark Wallace (18), who skied the ball to Hamish Marshall at deep square leg after charging down the wicket to Payne (1-47).
Howell and Smith (2-43) took the pace off the ball to check Glamorgan, with the latter having Chris Cooke (19) caught behind by Gareth Roderick and Marcus North (7) caught by Howell at deep square leg.
Rees became strangely subdued despite reaching his half-century, going 34 overs without hitting a boundary, but Jim Allenby (28) got the innings moving until he picked out Klinger at deep mid-wicket off Howell (1-32) and Murray Goodwin smashed 49 off 32 balls before he hit a Fuller (1-46) delivery to Ian Cockbain at point.
Wagg hit an enterprising 19 before being yorked by Miles (2-57), who lured Rees to sky the ball to Chris Dent at mid-off in the final over.
Glamorgan's bowlers also took time to find the right length and Klinger and Hamish Marshall took advantage, plundering a 100-run stand for Gloucestershire's first wicket in just under 15 overs with the latter hitting 55 off 43 balls before being caught and bowled by Dean Cosker (2-28).
Klinger and Dent (26) put on 54, but Gloucestershire then lost two wickets in quick succession with Dent chipping the ball to Hogan at long on off Cosker, who made the catch at point two balls later as Cockbain fell to Jones for a duck.
The experienced duo of Klinger and Gidman (28) steadied the ship with a 45-run stand before they were bowled in consecutive overs by Jones and Hogan respectively to set up a nail-biting finale.
- A CENTURY from Dawid Malan sent Gloucestershire on their way to defeat in the YB40 game against Middlesex at Lord's.
The opening batsman struck 113 not out as Middlesex posted 206-5 after opting to bat first in a match reduced to 38 overs a side due to rain.
After having their target reduced by one run on the Duckworth-Lewis, Gloucestershire failed to recover after losing Hamish Marshall first ball and Chris Dent in the second over to be reduced to 3-2.
Despite a third wicket stand of 81 between captain Michael Klinger (46) and Ian Cockbain (30) and a quick-fire 39 off 28 balls from Benny Howell they fell 19 runs short on 186-9.
- Gloucestershire begin a four-day game against Kent at Canterbury on Wednesday.
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