Report: Bears v Rapids, Vitality Blast
Bears secured a place in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals with a thumping 53-run victory over arch-rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Edgbaston.
Put in, the Bears started strongly and never lost momentum as they totalled 228 for four thanks to half-centuries from Rob Yates and Dan Mousley and Glenn Maxwell’s 20-ball 44.
Mousley then continued his brilliant Blast by adding 4 for 41 to his half-century as the Rapids totalled 175 for 9, Mitchell Santner top-scoring with 56.
One more win from their last two games will secure Bears a home tie in the last eight while, though the defeat is a setback for Rapids, they remain in the thick of the qualification race.
The Rapids chose to field but Bears openers Yates and Alex Davies put 50 on the board in 30 balls. England’s most recent debutant Josh Tongue suffered a tough first over with three successive wides, but hit back well in his second over, beating Yates with three successive balls without getting the edge.
After a strong powerplay (66 without 0), the Bears lost Davies for 29, caught behind off Santner’s second ball but Yates galloped to his second Blast fifty in 24 hours before skying a return catch to Dillon Pennington.
Maxwell’s departure, well-held by Pat Brown at long-off off Santner, brought together two of English cricket’s most vibrant young talents – Mousley and Chris Benjamin. They crashed 60 from 30 balls to leave the Rapids needing to score at 11.40 an over.
They received a perky start from Brett D’Oliveira and Jack Haynes before the former tried to swat Mousley’s first ball to leg and was bowled. Haynes then swung Danny Briggs over mid-wicket for six but drilled the next ball to Yates at extra cover.
The Rapids had to go for broke and that pressure cost wickets. Briggs struck a big blow by luring former Bears team-mate, and fellow Ventnor product, Adam Hose to his doom, stumped by Davies. Kashif Ali smote Mousley far into the Hollies Stand but then dragged a swinging yorker from Hasan Ali on to his stumps in a superb over which cost three runs and sent the required rate into the stratosphere.
Santner landed some clean blows in his fifth T20 half-century off 27 balls, but Mousley bowled Ben Cox and Usama Mir with successive balls to leave the Rapids needing 96 from five overs. When Mousley had Santner stumped to complete his four-for, the Bears were home, hosed and in the quarter-finals.
Performance Director Gavin Larsen said: “That was really impressive, one of our better all-round performances. With the bat we took things to another level. As a unit, it was really comprehensive with great intent right from the start and the rest of the boys just carried it on.
“It was a big total which brings immediate pressure for the opposition and then we took wickets regularly which is always how you keep the momentum and the lads did it really well.
“I was really pleased with the batting today. We have been a little bit inconsistent at times. We had Hain doing his great work in the early games and others chipping in, but tonight that was pretty comprehensive and sets us up nicely from a batting point of view.
“The bowlers did really well too. Our attack is always centred around spin but it’s good when you’ve got a Hassan Ali and a Woakes operating together too – they are world class.”
£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.