The Birmingham Bears won their fourth consecutive T20 Blast game on Friday (12th June), beating Nottinghamshire Outlaws by 7 wickets (D/L) in a rain affected game at Edgbaston. Burn FM’s Head of Sport, Matt Bullin and sports commentator, Ben Giblin were there to see the tie unfold…
It was set to be a close game, the Bears being on good form going into the game, winning their previous three fixtures, and they would have been particularly keen to get revenge on the Outlaws, following their loss to them earlier in the competition.
The Outlaws posted 149-9 in their 20 overs, an innings of two halves- the first dominated by Riki Wessels, who was the pick of the Notts batsmen, scoring 39 off 19, including 3 sixes. But once Recordo Gordon got him to miss time one to mid- on, the Bears bowlers took control, bowling tightly for the second half on the innings and picking up wickets at regular intervals- despite Outlaws overseas star Darren Sammy’s best efforts as he put a hole in the window of the hospitality suite with one particularly large six, as he scored 23 off 18.
Despite going for 21 in his first over, Jeetan Patel managed to finish his spell with figures of 4-0-35-1, going for just 14 runs in his last three overs. 23 year old spinner, Josh Poysden also impressed on his second T20 Blast appearance bowling well to return with figures of 3-0-18-1, and of course the experienced Rikki Clarke led the charge impressively taking 2-24 off his four overs. But it was Oliver Hannon- Dalby who was the star with the ball for the Bears, who took a competition best of 4-29 off his four overs.
The Bears would have been confident going into the chase, especially with Ian Bell making his second T20 Blast appearance of the season for them. But they got off to the worst possible start with captain Varun Chopra edging a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery to Wessels at second slip, off just the fourth delivery of the innings, just before the rain came.
Following a lengthy rain delay the Bears target was shortened to 98 off the remaining 10.2 overs. But needing almost ten an over, Bell and William Porterfield were not fazed; Bell showing his International class to hit a superb 38 off 24, including several straight sixes, before skiing one to Wessels off the bowling of Sammy. But there was nothing to fear for the Bears fans, as Porterfield guided his side home with 37* off 23, with four balls to spare, as the Notts bowlers were unable to make further inroads into the Birmingham batting line-up or even stem the steady flow of runs.
The Bears will carry confidence into the next round of T20 Blast fixtures in which they face welcome both Leicestershire and Yorkshire to home fortress Edgbaston, as they look to continue their solid start to the defence of their title.
All photo’s from Sam Bagnall.