Vitality Blast
Thu 20 June, 19:00

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Northamptonshire Steelbacks

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Report: Bears v Steelbacks, Vitality Blast

A scintillating innings from Jacob Bethell hoisted Birmingham Bears to a thumping 90-run Vitality Blast victory over Northants Steelbacks at Edgbaston.

Twenty-year-old Bethell smashed an unbeaten 56 from just 16 balls, including a 15-ball half-century, the quickest for the Bears in the Blast, to lift his side to 219 for four. 

Ed Barnard (48, 29), Dan Mousley (43, 26) and Alex Davies (36, 29) had already laid the foundation for a solid total but Bethell turned solid into spectacular with a furious onslaught of seven sixes, including four from Ben Sanderson in the last over.

Steelbacks then meandered to 129 for nine (Bethell adding two for 18 to his batting heroics) to suffer their eighth successive T20 defeat to the Bears. The only negative of the night for the home side was an injury to fast bowler Richard Gleeson who limped off the field, apparently with a hamstring injury, after delivering his seventh ball.

After the Bears chose to bat, Barnard hungrily seized his first T20 opportunity of the season. He dominated an opening stand of 80 in 52 balls with skipper Davies who was content to play a supporting role.

Ravi Bopara did most to shackle the batters with a canny spell of 4-0-21-2 which included the breakthrough wicket when Barnard slogged to deep mid-wicket. Davies chipped to mid-wicket and Hain hammered a return catch to Bopara but Mousley batted with typical brio before slog-sweeping Freddie Heldreich to Sikandar Raza on the mid-wicket fence. 

That brought in Barbados-born Bethell who thrilled the crowd by thundering to 50 in just 15 minutes. The last five overs of the innings yielded 92 runs. 

Northants looked shell-shocked and the effects of Bethell’s plundering were evident from the visitors’ early batting. Under massive scoreboard pressure, the top order went for broke and paid the price.

David Willey was superbly caught by Barnard at extra cover off Gleeson who was then chipped tamely to mid on by George Bartlett. Gleeson left the field with figures of 1.1-0-2-2 but the Bears charged on towards victory regardless. When Matt Breetzke skied a heave at Craig Miles, it was 20 for three and the Steelbacks had consumed 16 balls and three wickets without erasing what the Bears had scored in the 20th over. 

Things went from bad to worse for the Steelbacks in the sixth over when George Garton removed Raza and Saif Zaib, caught at extra cover and slip respectively, from successive balls. Bethell’s happy day continued when Miles took a superb catch inches inside the mid-wicket rope to dismiss Lewis McManus. 

Still there was Bopara and the former England batter has pulled off some highly unlikely rescue acts for his teams over the years, but finding 151 from 67 balls with four wickets intact was beyond even his considerable skills. With his departure, stumped off Jake Lintott, the sun set on the Steelbacks’ hopes of a fightback just as a glorious sunset, a divine fusion of pinks, purples and oranges, settled upon the sylvan Birmingham skyline.

Bears all-rounder Jacob Bethell said: “That was a definite confidence-booster for us, It was a clinical performance with the bat and then to take early wickets and continue to take them is the sort of performance we are looking for. It was a pretty convincing victory.

“Barny batted really well. He has been waiting for his opportunity and training hard and doing all the right things and today his opportunity came and he took it which is testament to him. 

“We had a great power-play but then they pegged us back but luckily I was able to get a few away to propel us over that 200. I wasn’t really looking at the scoreboard too much, I was just trying to watch the ball and hit it. 

“I put in a lot of work over the winter which I spent over here rather than going away and I think that work is paying off. Practice creates confidence and I am playing with a lot of confidence at the minute because of the work I have done behind the scenes. Practice goes a long way.”

Buy your Vitality Blast tickets in advance & save

Tickets for this summer’s Vitality Blast are on sale now and fans can save up to £6 when purchased in advance.

Tickets available from just £22, while under 16s are only £5. And make further savings when you book as a group of six or more.

Buy Tickets More Info

Preview: Bears v Steelbacks, Vitality Blast

Mark Robinson believes his side has ‘momentum’ as the first instalment of the Bears Vitality Blast campaign ends this week.

With four wins from six on the board after two successive triumphs, the Bears are preparing for an exciting double-header.

The Steelbacks are up first on Thursday at Edgbaston – tickets still available here – and a short drive to Worcestershire for a local derby follows 24 hours later, giving the Edgbaston outfit an opportunity to build on their second place in the table.

And with the return of red-ball cricket on Sunday, the First Team Coach is pleased with how his side navigated their way through the competition so far.

“I think all season we’ve been great as it hasn’t been straightforward,” said Robinson. “We’ve had lots of changes that have been forced on us so that’s a testament to the squad this season. 

“We feel we’ve got some momentum after being tested, but the togetherness of the squad overall is helping us overcome those setbacks. 

“Back-to-back games are tough to manage physically and mentally, but it’s the game in front of us that we’re preparing for. We go straight into a fixture against our local rivals on Friday, but all our thought is on tomorrow.

“It’s been tough for the support staff too as we’re having to manage the red ball players too, but we’ve got a good group here. 

“Alex (Davies) keeps leading well, Briggsy is a good ally in the white ball team and then there’s the selflessness of the likes of Ed Barnard and Craig Miles who are desperate to play. They’re being named in squads, not playing, but sacrificing their egos for the good of the group. That’s what allows teams to do well.”

Barnard and Miles will be on standby however as Robinson awaits some clarity on injuries.

Hassan Ali (elbow) and Rob Yates (illness), who have both been key contributors so far, are touch and go and a decision will be made close to the toss. 

Chris Woakes is unavailable after his two Blast appearances and will prepare for Sunday’s LV= Insurance County Championship fixture against Hampshire at Edgbaston.

“We’ve kept our standards and performances high and in this competition we’re four from six, which before the tournament we would have taken,” added the 57-year-old.

“We’ve bowled magnificently and found a way with the bat to get over the line although I believe we’re getting better on that front. 

“Dan Mousley brought some baggage and a bit of doubt with him from the red ball into white, which a lot of young players do, but we’ve worked with him, invested in his talent, and at the moment, touchwood, he’s found his mojo again which is exciting. 

“We can see George Garton get better, again lack of cricket before the tournament, but he’s improving in each game. Jacob Bethell has hit a sweet spot too. 

“We feel we’re getting better as a group although we’ve been tested, and there’s a few doubts ahead of Steelbacks. We’ll have to make a few decisions quite late to give them every chance to be fit. 

“We lose Woakesy, it was great to have him for those two games, and he’ll be better for it. Sam Hain has had a few niggles body-wise, but he’s getting better by the game. 

“I think we’ll keep getting better and individuals will continue to improve.”


Alex Davies (C & WK)
Hassan Ali
Ed Barnard
Chris Benjamin
Jacob Bethell
Michael Booth
Danny Briggs
Michael Burgess
George Garton
Richard Gleeson
Sam Hain
Jake Lintott
Craig Miles
Dan Mousley
Theo Wylie
Rob Yates


It’s the 42nd meeting between the Bears and Steelbacks in this competition with the Bears winning 21.

How to follow

Members and supporters can follow the match live in our Match Centre at, which will include a free to watch Live Stream and a live text commentary. You can also see a ball-by-ball feed and watch highlights of all the action.

Supporters can get involved by sending their match day comments and thoughts on Twitter via @WarwickshireCCC and we’ll publish the best ones on our live text commentary in the Match Centre.

Supporters can also watch the Live Stream and get instant push notifications of all wickets, innings and match results via the Edgbaston app, which is free to download on iOS and Android.

Match updates will also be available across the Club’s social media accounts, simply search for @WarwickshireCCC.

Buy your Vitality Blast tickets in advance & save

Tickets for this summer’s Vitality Blast are on sale now and fans can save up to £6 when purchased in advance.

Tickets available from just £22, while under 16s are only £5. And make further savings when you book as a group of six or more.

Buy Tickets More Info
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