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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warwickshire Wins Cup, Despite a So-So Lara

LONDON -- Record-breaking batsman Brian Lara was upstaged by his county teammates as Warwickshire coasted to victory in the Benson and Hedges Cup final against Worcestershire at Lords.


A capacity crowd of 28,000 at the headquarters of English cricket saw the West Indian scratch out a meager eight in the sun-drenched showcase final Saturday, but his Warwickshire colleagues kept their heads to overhaul Worcestershire's 170 and post a winning total of 172 for 4.


For Warwickshire and its overseas star, it was a satisfactory conclusion to weeks of controversy in which Lara has often been absent from the county lineup for a series of bizarre and mysterious reasons.


Cup final day at Lords is always a big social occasion, and this clash of two West Midland clubs brought thousands of fans down the M1 to treat everyone to those time-honored chants "Warwickshire, la-la-la, Warwickshire, la-la-la," and the less obvious "Come on you reds." All it needed to complete a happy choral repertory was a couple of rounds of "There's only one Brian Lara."


But then, in the past few weeks, there hasn't been one Brian Lara.


The West Indian has missed passages of play in a succession of matches for a variety of health and personal reasons. His teammates were reportedly understanding when he suffered a stomach upset in a match against Kent, but less so when he showed up late for another game after getting "stuck in traffic."


But on Saturday the flamboyant cricketer was enjoying banter with spectators as Warwickshire's bowlers asserted their authority early on a helpful pitch. Worcestershire batsmen struggled on the lively surface after they had been put in by Warwickshire skipper Dermot Reeve.


Tim Curtis nicked Gladstone Small to the keeper and when England batsman Graham Hick fell to man of the match Paul Smith, Worcestershire was reeling at 55 for 3. Only a patient 47 from Tom Moody averted outright collapse and enabled Worcestershire to set some sort of target for its Midland rival to chase. But 170 was never going to be enough.


Dominic Ostler and Roger Twose gave Warwickshire the start it needed, putting on 91 for the first wicket, before a spate of run outs gave Lara a chance to redeem himself. But the world's best batsman soon chipped Phil Newport straight to Hick at midwicket.


But by that stage Warwickshire was already on its way and with a few lusty blows from Paul Smith (42 not out) the match was won in the 45th over.