Vitality Blast 2019
Wed 24 July, 19:00

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Derbyshire Falcons

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Blast 19 Report: Birmingham Bears vs Derbyshire Falcons

Birmingham Bears made it back-to-back wins in the Vitality Blast as they beat Derbyshire Falcons by 49 runs in front of 7,500 at Edgbaston.

Chasing a hefty 205 for five, the Falcons faltered early with the loss of two wickets in the first nine balls and never threatened from there. They finished on 156 for nine.

The Bears’ daunting total owed most to a classy third-wicket partnership of 113 in 65 balls from Sam Hain (85, 61 balls) and Adam Hose (69, 35 balls). Ashton Agar added a violent 26 (15 balls) as only Ravi Rampaul (three for 21) withstood the onslaught.

The Falcons’ pursuit was then undone by the loss of early wickets, including two careless run outs. Leus du Plooy defied with a brilliant 70 (43 balls) but was alone in his resistance as nobody else in the top seven reached 15.

The Falcons’ defeat, following their victory over Yorkshire in their opening game, means that no team in the North Group won their first two games, though the Bears are the early pace-setters after a washout and two wins.

The Falcons chose to bowl and started well by removing openers Ed Pollock and Michael Burgess in the first 23 balls. Rampaul opened up with two overs for just four runs and the Bears ended the powerplay on only 36 for two but but Hain and Hose first rebuilt carefully then climbed into counter attack.

They reached their half-centuries, Hain from 42 balls, Hose from 26 in the same over from leg-spinner Matt Critchley and Hose smote 69 with three sixes and nine fours before edging Logan Van Beek behind.

Agar hit two of his first six balls into the crowd and helped Hain to add 63 in 27 balls before both fell in Rampaul’s final over. The Falcons’ fans might have wondered why the paceman wasn’t brought back earlier when the Bears’ batsmen began to escape control.

The Falcons soon lost Luis Reece, bowled second-ball by Fidel Edwards, and Wayne Madsen, brilliantly run out by Alex Thompson. du Plooy was immediately on the offensive but, having done for his partner Madsen with a dodgy call, captain Billy Godelman was then run out himself by smart work from Jeetan Patel.

That was 58 for three and, while Du Plooy galloped to 50 from 33 balls, the rest buckled under the pressure of a steepling run-rate required and accurate bowling led by spinners Patel (4-0-17-1) and Agar (4-0-22-1).

Blast 19 Preview: Birmingham Bears v Derbyshire Falcons

Aussie import Agar loved his Bears debut last Sunday when he played his full part in a near-perfect team performance to defeat Leicestershire in front of a big and boisterous Edgbaston crowd.

It was a tale of two debuts as West Indies paceman Fidel Edwards started sensationally with three wickets in his first over for the Bears before Agar delivered an impressive 4-0-25-1 with his spin before seeing his side home to a comfortable victory with an unbeaten 41 from 28 balls.

It was a wonderful atmosphere in a beautiful ground. The fans got right behind us.

Ashton Agar

The script
could not have been much better for the Aussie, a past winner of the Big Bash
with Perth Scorchers in his native country.

absolutely loved it,” Agar said. “It was a wonderful atmosphere in a
beautiful ground. The fans got right behind us and with Fidel starting the way
he did, things just got easier for us from there.

though I have played a few T20s now, you still get a little bit nervous on
debut. Those nerves were there, but to get that first wicket for the Bears was
a massive confidence-booster for me, and to not go for too many runs was great.
Then to have a bit of a dash with the bat too was fun.

“We are
really lucky in this team to have a lot of left-hand, right-hand options and
when you have a short boundary that is really dangerous because you always keep
that short side in play. We did that well against Leicestershire and
fortunately it came off.”

The emphatic
win got the Bears’ Blast campaign up and running after their opener at Worcester
was washed out. Next up it is Derbyshire tomorrow when Agar will again aim to
be at the heart of the action, not least as one of three spin-bowling options
along with captain Jeetan Patel and Alex Thomson.

the Scorchers in the Big Bash generally it is just me as a spinner, so it’s an
absolute luxury to be one of three,” he said. “It takes the pressure
off yourself, especially when you have got one of the best spinners in the
world, Jeets, bowling at one end and doing his thing. And Tommo bowled really
nicely on Sunday – I thought his last over was beautiful when he got his length

“It was a great way to start the campaign and I just can’t wait for the next game to arrive. The reason I love cricket is because I am involved in the game all the time. If I wasn’t batting, bowling and fielding, I just don’t see the reason to play. Playing like that makes me feel like a kid in the back yard – you bowl to get your brother out, you smack it out of the park and you try and take a hanger of a catch every now and then. I just love it.”

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