Vitality Blast: Paul Stirling smashes unbeaten 80 as Northants beat Worcestershire

Paul Stirling delivered a superb match-winning debut for Northamptonshire Steelbacks as they overwhelmed Worcestershire Rapids by nine wickets in a Vitality Blast encounter at Blackfinch New Road.

Stirling had showed his awesome power earlier in the month when smashing 142 for Ireland in their ODI triumph over England at the Ageas Bowl.

And the former Middlesex player made an impact with bat and initially the ball as the Rapids, winners of the competition in 2018 and runners-up last season, were well beaten.

Worcestershire did not come to terms with a sluggish pitch as the visitors used four slow bowlers to good effect in bowling 15 of the 20 overs and they limped to 124-7.

Stirling picked up two wickets, including Rapids top scorer Jack Haynes, while captain Josh Cobb, Graeme White and Saif Zaib were equally effective with the pace taken off the ball.

He then raced to 50 off 28 balls with some awesome striking and was given excellent support by Richard Levi (33) during an opening stand of 107 in 12.4 overs.

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