Report: Bears v Durham, Vitality Blast
Bears completed their buoyant Vitality Blast group campaign with a club record seventh successive victory, by eight runs over Durham at Edgbaston.
Already sure of finishing top, the Bears rounded off their group games with an 11th win out of 14 despite being bowled out for 141 in 19.4 overs. Only Rob Yates (53, 42 balls) lasted long against accurate bowling led by Aussie pair Ashton Turner (three for 20) and Nathan Sowter (two for 23).
Durham faced a moderate target but it was beyond them as they mustered just 133 for nine (Henry Brookes three for 15).
Next up, a home quarter-final against Essex Eagles on Thursday night (6 July). Tickets are available for only £10, if purchased in advance, and are on sale now at tickets.edgbaston.com.
After the Bears chose to bat, their top order misfired except for Yates who has scored 286 runs in his last five Blast knocks.
Alex Davies blasted 19 from eight balls but then cut Turner to George Drissell at point. Drissell enjoyed an effective hour, adding another smart catch in the same position to remove the fit-again Sam Hain and bowling four overs of tidy off-spin for just 23.
The Bears big-hitters have powered their side into the last eight but this wasn’t their day as Chris Benjamin, Glenn Maxwell, Mousley and Jake Bethell each lasted fewer than 10 balls. Yates completed a 38-ball fifty but then edged Turner behind.
Brookes landed a couple in the crowd but when Ben Raine castled Jake Lintott, it was nine down and the spectators had the unusual T20 sight of a number 11 blocking out the 18th over to keep the innings alive. It concluded when Olly Hannon-Halby embarked on a single, Brookes didn’t and the former was run out by Alex Lees’ throw.
Durham required a relatively modest run rate but appeared in a big hurry which cost them early wickets.
Graham Clark skied Drakes to mid off, Lees was bowled backing away to cut Mousley, Ollie Robinson played on to Brookes and Michael Jones (26, 14) swept Mousley to short fine leg. The Bears spinner delivered only two more balls before suffering an injury.
Brookes came on to complete the over, immediately removed Turner lbw and followed up with the wicket of Brydon Carse, caught by Yates at long on.
Liam Trevaskis hoiked Lintott to deep mid-wicket before the fall of Raine pretty much summed up the Blast campaigns of these two teams.
Sub fielder Ethan Brookes brilliantly retrieved a hit inches inside the rope and the batters, instead of celebrating four runs, found themselves together in the middle of the pitch when Brookes’ throw arrived. Jonathan Bushnell biffed a T20-best 40 (34 balls) was it was too little too late to rescue his team.
Henry Brookes said: “We probably didn’t set the total we were after today. It was a low-scoring pitch but we were still maybe 20 runs short, but we managed to group together at the halfway stage and then bowled really nicely.
“The wicket had been used so we thought the pitch would be a little bit tacky and slow, hence the low scores, but we had some clear plans going into today, batting and bowling to the pace of the pitch, and it worked out well.
“It’s brilliant to have won seven in a row and we are full of confidence going into the quarter final on Thursday. We have played some good cricket during the group stage but the big games are to come now, starting on Thursday, so all our preparation over the next few days will be geared up towards that.”
£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.