Brendon McCullum hit a brilliant unbeaten 158* off just 64 balls as the Birmingham Bears posted 242-2 off 20 overs, to ensure a comfortable 60 run win over the Derbyshire Falcons, as they maintain their top spot in the North group of the Natwest T20 Blast.
Brendon McCullum’s 158* was the highest individual T20 score by a batsman in England passing Luke Wright’s 153 last year, as well as matching his own previous best of 158 which he hit for the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008, which is coincidentally the second highest individual T20 score in world cricket.
McCullum and his captain got their side off to a fantastic start, reaching 74-0 off the first six overs, shortly after McCullum reached his fifty off just 23 balls including three huge straight sixes. The assault did not stop there as Chopra too reached his half-century off a relatively slow 35 balls, just before being caught at backward point off a Wayne White delivery.
But by this time McCullum was in the zone and he progressed to the first century by a Bears batsman off 40 balls, before seamlessly reaching his 150 off 60 balls, before ending on 158* off 64. His breath- taking innings included 11×6’s, 13×4’s and has a strike rate of 247.8, helping the Bears post their highest ever team total of 242-2, surpassing the previous highest of 205.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Falcons chasing down a total with a run rate pushing twelve per over. But the openers got them off to a fast start with Rutherford (39 off 21) and Durston (43 off 24) before the spinners came on and put the brakes on. Poysden and Patel picking up 4-51 and 2-18 respectively off their four over spells, with Javid getting the important wicket of Rutherford in his 1-27 off two overs.
But following the Falcons’ opening partnership there was little to shout about for the travelling fans as despite the fact they eventually reached 182 all out off 19.2 overs, none of the Derbyshire middle or lower- order really got going as wickets fell at regular intervals as the Bears romped home.
The Bears can thank Brendon McCullum for this win as his 158* was a truly magnificent innings, helping them to post the third highest team total in English domestic T20’s. It was the Bears’ seventh win out of nine this campaign, consolidating their spot at the top of the North Group as they continued their momentum in the defence of their domestic T20 crown.
See an interview with spinner Josh Poysden below:
Image credits to Ed Bagnall