James Cameron’s terrific half-century helped Worcestershire to their second win in this year’s Friends Life t20 with a 14-run victory over the Steelbacks at the County Ground.
Zimbabwean Cameron hammered 57 off 39 balls – his highest T20 score – as the Royals posted 142-5 from their 20 overs with Chaminda Vaas and Oliver Stone each taking two wickets.
Despite a superb 62 not out off 42 balls by Cameron White, the Steelbacks fell short of their target as they closed on 128-5 to remain winless in the competition and their quarter-final hopes hanging by a thread.
Worcestershire won the toss and chose to bat but they lost Vikram Solanki for eight in the second over when Stone’s delivery crashed into his leg stump.
Mooen Ali was next to fall on 14 when Alex Wakely took a sharp catch at extra cover off the bowling of James Middlebrook.
Cameron then completed an explosive half-century off 31 balls and Australia batsman Phil Hughes joined him on 50 off 47 deliveries as the third-wicket pair piled on 101 between them.
They departed in consecutive balls in the penultimate over when Cameron launched Vaas to Cameron White at long off before Hughes edged to Stone at short third man to walk on 52.
Royals captain Daryl Mitchell then smashed Stone to Rob Keogh at deep square leg in the final over as the visitors gave the Steelbacks a target of 143.
The hosts lost Vaas (9) in the fourth over when he was bowled by ex-Northants man David Lucas and their captain Alex Wakely departed cheaply by blasting Gareth Andrew to Alexei Kervezee at deep midwicket.
Scotland international Kyle Coetzer walked on 33 when was easily taken by Ali at long on off the bowling of Mitchell as the required run-rate crept up.
Mitchell struck again when Rob White (4) chipped him to Netherlands international Kervezee at midwicket.
James Middlebrook went for the same score when he was caught by Cameron at long on off Jack Shantry before White completed his half-century off 37 balls.
But it was not enough as the Steelbacks fell to their fourth straight defeat and their quarter-final hopes look very slim.