Report: Bears v Derbyshire Falcons, Vitality Blast
Derbyshire Falcons’ Vitality Blast charge continued with a thumping seven-wicket win over Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.
The Falcons lodged their fourth successive victory as they comfortably beat a Bears side which had piled up a Blast record total against Notts Outlaws only two days earlier.
This time the Bears were restricted to 159 for seven by excellent bowing led by Sam Conners (three for 25) and Mattie McKiernan (two for 18). Sam Hain continued his sublime form with an unbeaten 73 (40 balls) but no other batter escaped the shackles.
The visitors made light of the modest target, racing to 160 for three with 11 balls to spare. Luis Reece supplied early impetus with 38 (24 balls) before Wayne Madsen (55, 34 balls) and captain Shan Masood (45 not out, 45) added 89 in 59 balls to seal victory.
The win lifts the Falcons into the qualification spots while the Bears are also still there but remain hit and miss, their record total of 261 on Friday sandwiched between defeats by ten and seven wickets. Another concern for them was Hain’s absence when fielding due to a sore back.
The Bears chose to bat but soon hit trouble against well-directed bowling. They were 23 for three after Connors removed Paul Stirling and Alex Davies and Rob Yates lifted Mark Watt long leg.
Hain motored to 50 from 29 balls, but support for him was fleeting. Adam Hose lifted Mattie McKiernan for six but edged the next ball to wicketkeeper Brooke Guest.
The Falcons’ attack, astutely orchestrated by captain Masood, kept the pressure high. Chris Benjamin, Carlos Brathwaite and Jake Lintott all cleared the ropes once but perished trying to repeat the big blows. Hain found himself too often at the non-striker’s end as the Bears came in short.
The Falcons’ reply was given a flier as Masood and Reece put 50 on the board in 33 balls. A comical mix up, which saw them both at the same end, did for Reece but Madsen hit two sixes from his first six balls and applied measured acceleration while Masood played the perfect anchor role.
The Bears’ unhappy day continued when they were penalised five runs after bowler Brathwaite, seeing Madsen set off for a single, sent in a throw which would have hit the stumps but struck the batsman. The umpires’ bizarre decision to deem it dangerous play summed up a bad day for the Bears.
Madsen advanced to a 29-ball half-century and the Falcons rose impressively into the top four of the North Group.