Report: Bears v Falcons, Vitality Blast
Bears fell to an agonising six-wicket defeat at home to Derbyshire Falcons following a devastating late barrage by visiting captain Leus Du Plooy.
Mark Robinson’s men piled up 203 for seven – but Du Plooy smashed an unbeaten 66 from 25 balls to see his side to 207 for four with three balls to spare.
Sam Hain’s unbeaten 79 not out (36 balls) in the Bears innings contained some breathtaking hitting but even he was trumped by Du Plooy’s display.
After openers Luis Reece (57, 38 balls) and Haider Ali (48, 34) added 96 in ten overs to set the perfect foundation for the big chase, Du Plooy built victory on it as he smashed five sixes and four fours.
The first half of the Bears innings did not go to plan after they chose to bat.
Rob Yates made a perky 21 but leg-spinner Matty McKiernan (three for 39) bowled potential big-hitters Moeen Ali and Glenn Maxwell through indeterminate shots before they could inflict any damage and also castled Alex Davies for 26 (25 balls).
Hain batted beautifully but needed support and found it from Dan Mousley (26, 17 balls) and, after Mousley was bowled by Zak Chappell, from Woakes. The England star transformed the innings with 23 from 11 balls in a dazzling stand of 48 in 18 balls with Hain.
Woakes was yorked by Zaman Khan but Hain was at his most destructive in the closing overs, thumping 36 from his last eight balls faced.
The Falcons faced a testing target but, after riding their luck early on, Reece and Haider Ali played sweetly to raise 50 from 33 balls. They set down the perfect platform before being parted in scruffy fashion when Haider Ali charged and missed at Danny Briggs. Davies missed the stumping at the first attempt but, with the batter down the track, had time to complete it second time round.
Moeen Ali, playing his penultimate game for the Bears before he departs on Ashes duty, applied a brake with an astute spell which brought the wicket of Reece, bowled through a slog sweep. As the required rate escalated, and Wayne Madsen suffered a rare failure when he holed out to Mousley, the pressure increased on the Falcons.
Du Plooy went to the crease with that pressure at its height. He needed to hit brilliantly from his first ball – and did so to take his side to a victory which tightens the North Group table right up.
Hain said: “The ebbs and flows from that game make it very hard to sum up. From a batting point of view we were something like 75 for four at the halfway stage so to get over 200 was a great effort.
“Then they got off to a bit of a flier and then we clawed it back but you have to give credit to Leus Du Plooy. He played a fantastic innings at the end there.
“It was just one of those games. In this format you can’t dwell on losses, you have just got to learn from them and put things right in the next game.
“It was a good pitch which didn’t slow up as much as we thought it would but credit to Derbyshire. When you are chasing 200, that’s ten an over, someone has got to pay a special innings and unluckily for us they had somebody who did that. Credit where it’s due. We are hurting but you have just got to learn from the hurt and put it right next time.”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.