Birmingham Bears and Lancashire Lightning endured an evening of frustration at Edgbaston where their Vitality Blast clash was washed out.
Relentless Birmingham rain meant that a mouth-watering tussle between two of the leading sides in the North Group never got off the ground with. The game was officially called off at 5.30pm, an hour before the scheduled start.
The washout interrupted the Bears’ sequence of four straight wins and they will seek to resume that sequence away to fellow high-fliers Durham on Sunday.
As no play was possible, all ticket buyers are entitled to a refund for the value of their tickets.
A refund will be processed automatically back to the original payment method. Please allow up to 10 working days for refunds to be processed. Please note, no refunds will be issued on the day of the fixture.
If you are a Season Pass holder, you will be entitled to claim one additional ticket for any remaining Bears game at Edgbaston in 2021. Tickets can be claimed at Store ’94.
The Bears will host six more home group games in 2021, with tickets still available for four games after it was announced that both the Derbyshire Falcons (24 June) and Worcestershire Rapids (16 July) matches are sold out.
Tickets are available to buy online, over the phone by calling 0330 551 1994 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or in-person at Store ’94 (10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday).
Blast Preview: Bears v Lightning
The Bears are flying and Will Rhodes expects the Hollies Stand to be “absolutely bouncing” when his side at last launches their Vitality Blast home campaign, against Lancashire Lightning tomorrow (6.30pm).
A run of four straight wins in six days on the road sprung the Bears to the top of the North Group and has laid a great platform for a sustained push for qualification – and ideally a top-two spot for a home quarter final.
In brushing aside Notts Outlaws, Derbyshire Falcons, Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Leicestershire Foxes on their own turf, the Bears played some superb T20 cricket.
Now they face their first home test and it is a mouth-watering one as they meet the Lightning with both sides flying high in the North Group.
The atmosphere will be buzzing as Edgbaston welcomes back the Blast.
“It will be fantastic to have spectators back in for T20 at Edgbaston. Everyone has missed it and I’m sure the Hollies Stand will be absolutely bouncing. It was loud enough when we beat Notts there in a four-day game so heaven knows what it will be like tomorrow.
“Lancashire are a very good T20 team and we have had some exciting tussles with them over the years, so it should be a great game in front of our own crowd.”
The Bears could not go into the match in better spirits after four successive wins in which they have struck 60 fours and 27 sixes and taken 37 wickets and 25 catches.
Rhodes, who contributed five sixes to the tally in a T20 career-best 79 (40 balls) at Leicester on Wednesday, is delighted with his team’s early progress.
“Four wins out of five is more than we could have asked for from a very tough set of opening fixtures,” he said. “We are near the top of the league and in the qualification spots and that’s where we need to stay.
“As a club, the Bears need to be getting to quarter-finals and Finals Day more regularly than we have been doing in recent years and Danny Briggs, Carlos Brathwaite and Tim Bresnan have come in and given us the experience we need so hopefully we can get there this year.”
Chris Woakes returns to the Bears’ squad tomorrow but his England colleague Olly Stone planned return has been thwarted by some discomfort in his back following his Test match appearance against New Zealand. Also still on the injured list are Adam Hose (hamstring), Henry Brookes (thigh) and Rob Yates (illness).
Blast Insight: Lancashire Lightning
Lancashire Lightning are our first visitors to Edgbaston for the 2021 Vitality Blast. Here’s some key points on the opposition.
Coach: Glen Chapple
Captain: Dane Vilas
Last year’s performance: Semi-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Alex Davies (299 @ 29.9)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Matthew Parkinson (15 @ 20.66)
Overseas players: Dane Vilas (South Africa – whole tournament), Finn Allen (New Zealand – whole group stage, knockouts TBC)
Key man: Matthew Parkinson – England leg-spinner with 75 wickets in the last four Blast campaigns combined. Lightning’s leading wicket taker in each of those. Loves bowling at difficult times, including at the death.
Flies under the radar: Alex Davies – England players Livingstone, Mahmood and Parkinson get the headlines, but the diminutive wicketkeeper batsman (opener) is a star performer. Lightning’s leading runscorer for last three years, including 534 in 2018.
Best player under 24: Finn Allen – Explosive batsman, 22, who made T20 debut for New Zealand in March. Tall opener similar to Tom Banton. Could break up longstanding opening partnership between Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone.
Blast expectations: Lancashire are desperate to add to the solitary title they won in 2015 under the guidance of current England director of cricket Ashley Giles. Beaten semi-finalists in 2018 and 2020, they were beaten in the quarters by 2019 champions Essex.
They have all the tools at their disposal. Power and nous with the bat, plenty of pace and spin with the ball. Especially strong on home turf at Emirates Old Trafford, where they push the boundaries out to suit their spinners. With the bat, they have more than enough power to clear those boundaries.
It would be a big surprise if they didn’t reach the quarter-finals. Then it is just about being better in those pressure moments which come in knockout games. Only current champions Nottinghamshire have won more matches (119) than Lancashire (118) since the start of the Vitality Blast in 2003.
Bears Blast Best: Lancashire Lightning
In 16 meetings in the Blast, the Bears and the Lightning have delivered some real thrillers and some brilliant cricket. Club journalist Brian Halford recalls the Bears’ best against the Lightning with bat and ball…step forward Adam Hose, Recordo Gordon and Olly Hannon-Dalby.
Best Innings – 76
Adam Hose (Edgbaston, 2017)
Four days after joining the Bears from Somerset, Adam Hose introduced himself to the fans with a truly memorable display of power hitting.
The Bears were chasing an imposing total of 176, after Jos Buttler’s 43-ball 80, and were wobbling at 17 for two when Hose joined Sam Hain at the crease. The pair rebuilt stylishly and the debutant batted with verve from his very first ball.
He smashed 76 from just 43 balls with seven fours and five sixes. One of the sixes landed in the top deck of the pavilion – a mighty hit that would have joined the very short list of blows to have cleared the old pavilion and landed in the Edgbaston Road.
After scoring 76 at a scoring rate of 176, Hose departed to a standing ovation, after which Grant Elliott’s composed unbeaten 45 saw the Bears to a five-wicket victory with two balls to spare.
“I’ve seen a lot of cricket at Edgbaston and that’s probably the best debut I’ve ever seen from a Warwickshire player,” said Ian Bell.
Best Bowling – 4/20
Recordo Gordon (Old Trafford, 2015)
All eyes were on Black Caps superstar Brendon McCullum as he made his Bears debut, but it was local favourite Recordo Gordon who was the star of a thrilling one-run win.
On a typically slow Old Trafford pitch, McCullum made 18 as the Bears totalled 137 for eight thanks to Varun Chopra (40) and Will Porterfield (36). The only six of the innings was struck right at the end by number nine R.O.Gordon…how vital that was to prove!
“Flash” then got to work with the ball. The Bears had to take wickets and the Jamaica-born seamer soon had Karl Brown caught by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose. Then, after the Lightning moved dangerously to 52 for two, he struck three further blows.
As Josh Poysden built pressure with a fine spell of 4-0-25-0, Jordon Clark, James Faulkner and Alex Davies all perished to futile flails at Flash. Liam Livingstone was run out off the final ball in pursuit of the run that would have tied the game and the Bears had a fantastic, Flash-powered victory to the delight of their big travelling support in the north-west.
Olly Hannon-Dalby (Edgbaston, 2018)
They say the Blast is a batsman’s game but when the Bears thrashed the Lightning by seven wickets at Edgbaston in 2018 it was emphatically the bowlers that did it…led by OHD.
Lancashire arrived in Birmingham with a power-packed batting line-up, but were blown away by a Yorkshireman!
Batting first, the Lightning reached 22 without loss but then lost all ten wicket for 80 runs. OHD started the slide by taking down both openers – Alex Davies and Karl Brown. Aaron Thomason and Grant Elliott added two wicket apiece and spinners Jeetan Patel (4-1-15-1) and Josh Poysden (4-0-18-1) applied a tight squeeze before OHD returned to add the scalps of Dan Lamb and Matt Parkinson.
OHD finished with four for 20, a terrific effort on a good batting pitch which was then put into perspective by the Bears batsmen.
Replying to the Lightning total of 102, Ed Pollock blasted 36 to make the chase a formality. The Bears won by seven wickets with 35 balls to spare.
Woakes and Stone set for Bears Blast return to Edgbaston
England pace aces Chris Woakes and Olly Stone will line up for the Bears against Lancashire Lightning on Friday (6.30pm) when the Vitality Blast returns to Birmingham in star-studded style.
The Bears v the Lightning is always a cracking game – who can forget the 2014 final when the Bears lifted the trophy after a last-ball thriller in front of a packed house at Edgbaston?
On Friday, the atmosphere will be cranked up again as the Bears aim to launch their home campaign in style – and both sides will be armed with the full might of their England players. While Woakes and Stone go hunting wickets for the Bears, the Lightning will have the explosive batting talents of Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone available.
Some tickets are still available for the mouth-watering contest. Bears first team coach Mark Robinson doesn’t need a ticket…but would certainly be buying one if he wasn’t involved in it.
“This is what we all want isn’t it? Friday night at a fantastic stadium, two strong teams going head to head, and some of the world’s top players there.
“It will be my first taste of having the Bears fans behind me in the Blast at Edgbaston and I can’t wait. It just adds extra spice that we will have Woakesy and Olly and all the England players are available.
“It will be a great night in the Edgbaston atmosphere that the players love. When we beat Nottinghamshire in the championship recently, even though it was a relatively small crowd, the noise they made and the backing they gave us was brilliant and really helped the players push on and win. I know how much the players appreciate that backing and are looking forward to having it behind them on Friday and in all our Blast home games.”
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