Vitality Blast
Sat 26 June, 14:30

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Blast Report: Bears v Durham

Durham returned to winning ways in the Vitality Blast with a 34-run victory over Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston. 

Both sides went into action on the back of successive defeats and it was the visitors who ended their lean streak after they defended a total of 164 for eight (Cameron Bancroft 60, 45 balls, Ben Stokes 35, 20 balls). 

Carlos Brathwaite led the Bears’ bowling with three for 32, Tim Bresnan adding two for 25 and Will Rhodes two for 11. 

Durham then regularly took wickets at important times to bowl the Bears out for 130 in 18.3 overs. Rhodes’s  perky 45 (27 balls) was ended by a run out and Matt Lamb’s worthy 39 (33 balls, three fours, two sixes) was without support as Stokes, assisted by brilliant catching, added four for 27 to his cameo with the bat.  

Put in, Durham started slowly, losing openers Graham Clark and David Bedingham, caught in the deep off Craig Miles and Bresnan respectively, on the way to 25 for two from five overs. 

Stokes launched the counter attack with two sixes off Carlos Brathwaite. The England star looked dangerous but perished in pursuit of another maximum off his old West Indian foe, superbly caught by Sam Hain running around the mid-wicket boundary.  

While Bancroft improvised impressively on the way to a 38-ball half-century, others flailed briefly around him. Scott Borthwick bashed a quickfire 18 before Bancroft sought his third six, over cover off Rhodes, and was held by Adam Hose on the rope. Late impetus arrived when Ned Eckersley and Liam Trevaskis took 20 from the final over. 

Travaskis then opened the bowling and soon trapped Hose lbw, sweeping. Brydon Carss removed Ed Pollock, caught at mid off, to leave the Bears 18 for two and then Stokes took the big wicket of Hain, caught behind, in his first over. 

Rhodes moved sweetly to 45 but departed after a mix-up with Lamb which saw him easily run out by Bedingham’s throw. 

The Bears needed 86 from the last ten overs but the next two, tightly delivered by and Trevaskis and Matty Potts, yielded just eight runs. As the pressure increased, Michael Burgess hoisted Stokes to fine leg. 

Lamb launched a blow or two anger but Borthwick bowled Brathwaite through an attempted sweep, and after Lamb fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Raine on the long leg boundary, the equation quickly spiralled beyond the Bears’ reach. 

Blast Preview: Bears v Durham

Birmingham Bears will face Durham at Edgbaston on Saturday as part of a mouth-watering T20 double-header along with Central Sparks taking on Southern Vipers.

The Bears will face Durham at 2.30pm, a match for which all tickets are sold, before the women take centre stage at 6.30pm when the Sparks, having made a strong start to their Rachael Heyhoe-Flint (50 over) campaign, launch their Charlotte Edwards Cup trail.

Before the women open their T20 programme, the men will face Durham aiming to bounce back from the blip of successive defeats, at Durham last Sunday and at home to Derbyshire Falcons last night.

The five-wicket defeat to the Falcons arrived despite a thrilling 21-ball 46 from opening batsman Ed Pollock. It was an innings which threatened to take the game away from the Falcons until ending in unlucky fashion…courtesy of a broken bat.

“I looked down afterwards and my bat had split completely,” Pollock said. “It was a half-volley and I thought ‘I’ve hit that quite nicely’ and then looked down and my bat was almost in two pieces.

“I’ve got a spare one, of course, but I’ll be on to the manufacturer to get another one on the way.

“All round, it was just one of those nights for us. T20 is a game of fine margins and last night those margins went against us. We ask guys to play positively and Lamby hit a fielder and Hosey hit a fielder and, if they miss the fielders they go on to make a score. But then later on Tom Wood batted really well but just cleared the fielders a few times and then went on to get them over the line. That’s the way it goes in T20.

“There’s no need to panic. We are in still a good position in the group and have a quick chance to bounce back tomorrow. Games come thick and fast and we’ve got three more at home on the bounce now and a couple of wins will keep us in a strong position.

“We know how to win games at Edgbaston, the guys have proved that with some excellent wins in the championship this season, so that’s what we will be looking to do tomorrow and in the two next week.”

Ed Pollock

The Bears have named an unchanged 13-man squad from Thursday. Their spin attack remains disrupted with Jake Lintott ruled out by COVID (he finished self-isolation on Monday so, all being well, be available after that) and Dan Mousley is out for up to six weeks with a broken finger.

Rob Yates is back in training following illness but not yet match ready, while Henry Brookes today had another scan on his troublesome thigh. England paceman Olly Stone is out for the season with a stress fracture in his back while it is not known whether Chris Woakes will be released by England to play any more T20 group games. 


Will Rhodes (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Jacob Bethell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Matt Lamb, Pieter Malan, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell, Ed Pollock

How to follow

With Saturday’s double header officially sold out, Bears Members and supporters can follow the Club from home via the Match Centre on and through the Edgbaston app (available for free on iOS and Android).

Bears Den TV returns for all home Vitality Blast home games hosted by Beccy Wood and starting on our YouTube page.

Central Sparks versus Southern Vipers will subsequently live streamed across the Sparks’ YouTube page.

Blast Insight: Durham

Durham will arrive at Edgbaston on Saturday (2.30pm) for the second half of a quickfire West Midlands double-header after facing Worcestershire Rapids on Friday.

It will be a revenge mission for the Bears after they were beaten by 22 runs at the Riverside last Sunday. That was a rare defeat to the northern county in T20 – the two sides have met 11 times in the format over the years and the Bears have won eight of those games.

This time round, both sides have made strong starts to the North Group campaign before suffering blips this week. The Bears’ defeat to Derbyshire Falcons last night arrived 24 hours after Durham suffered a shock nine-wicket beating by struggling Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

Durham have named a 13-man squad for the games against the Rapids and Bears. It includes England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Scotland fast bowler Ally Evans, who joined on loan last Sunday.

Seventeen year-old academy graduate Harry Crawshaw is named in a senior Durham squad for the first time, having impressed with the Seconds and scored 549 runs this summer for Hartlepool in the North Yorkshire/South Durham League.

Durham Cricket Lead High Performance Coach James Franklin ssaid: “We certainly weren’t at the races against Northamptonshire. We got a competitive total in the end after a slow start but were blown out of the water in the powerplay.

“It was very much a below-par performance from us from how we’ve been playing. We’ve been playing some good T20 cricket, but sometimes you have these games. The games come thick and fast so we have the chance to get back to winning ways.”

Bears Blast Best: Durham

Brian Halford looks back at our best Blast batting and bowling performances against Durham in the history of the tournament.

Best Innings – 97*

Varun Chopra (Edgbaston, 2016)

The Bears won the toss, put Durham into bat and then bowled and fielded tidily to restrict them to 154 or nine, Chris Woakes taking three for 25 and Rikki Clarke two for 25.

The target looked gettable, but no formality.

Opening batsman Varun Chopra turned it into a formality.

The elegant Chopra dominated an opening stand of 94 in ten overs with Ian Bell and then saw his side all the way to victory in an unbroken partnership of 61 in 46 balls with Will Porterfield.

His polished unbeaten 97 came from just 58 balls, with eight fours and five sixes, and the only disappointment of a memorable night at Edgbaston arrived when the target was reached with 14 balls to spare and ‘Chops’ was still three short of his ton.

Best Bowling – 3/19

Imran Tahir (Riverside, 2010)

Put in, Durham soon descended into trouble as Boyd Rankin, Neil Carter and Keith Barker got among their top order and reduced them to 23 for four.  They were still in a pickle at 51 for four in the 12th over, when spinner Imran Tahir came in to bowl to Gordon Muchall.

Three balls later, it was 51 for seven and the magical Immy was lighting up the Riverside with one of his famous jigs of delights to celebrate a hat-trick.

Muchall missed an attempted big hit and was bowled, then Will Smith and Ben Harmison sent up catches to Ant Botha and Rikki Clarke respectively. The insatiable wicket-hunter that was Imran Tahir had three on the trot.

He finished with 3-0-19-3 which, alongside Carter’s 4-0-18-2 and Rankin’s 4-0-17-1, restricted Durham to 117 for eight. Skipper Jim Troughton (24 from 40 balls) and Clarke (29 not out from 21) then organised the chase perfectly and the Bears won with two overs and five wickets to spare.

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