Vitality Blast 2022
Thu 26 May, 18:30


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Northamptonshire Steelbacks

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Report: Bears v Northants Steelbacks, Vitality Blast

Paul Stirling smashed a scintillating debut century as Birmingham Bears launched their Vitality Blast campaign with a 125-run thrashing of Northants Steelbacks at Edgbaston. 

Ireland batter Stirling blazed his career T20-best 119 from 51 balls (nine fours, ten sixes), including 34 from one over, to lift the Bears to 207 for three in an innings reduced by rain to 16 overs. 

Sam Hain (66 not out, 32 balls, seven fours, one six) ensured the bowlers had no respite at the other end in a partnership of 170 from 70 balls which brought the big Edgbaston crowd to its feet. 

Chasing a D/L target of 207 in 16 overs, the Steelbacks then lurched to 20 for three from 20 balls and there was no way back from there. Spinners Jake Lintott (three for 19) and Danny Briggs (three for 21) exploited the pressure as Northants were bowled out for  81, only two batters reaching double figures. 

After the Bears chose to bat, Stirling belted his fourth ball for his new side for six on his way to 33 from 18 balls before a rain break. The deluge halted a blistering start from Hain who smashed his first ball over extra cover and had 12 from five when the rain arrived. 

The rain only delayed the punishment for the Steelbacks’ bowlers as the third-wicket pair collected a combined 142 in fours and sixes. James Sales copped the peak of the onslaught as Stirling hit the first five balls of an over for six, before slicing the sixth through slip for four. 

Stirling thundered to his third T20 ton, from 46 balls, and celebrated with a six which landed 20 rows back in the Hollies Stand before perishing to a catch at long off in the final over.  

It was a bruising start to the Blast for the Steelbacks’ bowlers – just 23 of 96 balls they delivered were dots. Their batters then took a few bruises too as their reply floundered to 40 for five in seven overs. Northants needed their overseas debutant to emulate Stirling but Aussie ace Chris Lynn reached only 16 before lifting Henry Brookes to long leg. 

Brookes had already bowled Ben Curran and Josh Cobb was then brilliantly held at deep mid-wicket by Bethell.  The Steelbacks needed 16 an over from the last 11 overs and melted under the pressure.  

Preview: Bears v Northants Steelbacks, Vitality Blast

When and where

Thursday 26 May, 6.30pm, Edgbaston Stadium.

Tickets are available via with adult tickets £15 in advance (£20 on the day), 12 to 15-year-olds £5 and under 12s go FREE.

Bears skipper Carlos Brathwaite said…

“We all can’t wait to get going. Everyone wants to play out of their skin for the badge and that is the type of dressing room you want to be in. My target as skipper is to get the team to Finals Day.

Recent form

Bears: LLWWL
Steelbacks: LWWLL


Played 37, Bears 19, Steelbacks 17, with 1 tie

Blast from the past

In 2018, the Steelbacks piled up 231 but the game was tied after the Bears matched it thanks to a sensational world record stand of 171 between Ian Bell (131) and Adam Hose (64).

Who’s hot?

Jake Bethell: Competition for places in the Bears side is intense but Jake’s stunning form in the warm-ups means he is pushing as hard as anybody.

Look out for: Powerplay fireworks as top order specialists Paul Stirling and Chris Lynn aim to go big on their debuts for their respective counties.  

On the brink

Paul Stirling needs 48 runs for 7,000 in T20 cricket.

Bears Squad

Carlos Brathwaite (C)
Chris Benjamin
Jacob Bethell
Danny Briggs
Ethan Brookes
Henry Brookes
Alex Davies
Sam Hain
Olly Hannon-Dalby
Adam Hose
Jake Lintott
Craig Miles
Paul Stirling

How to Follow

Fans can follow the match live in our new-look Match Centre at, which will include a free to watch Live Stream from Bears Den TV, hosted BBC TMS’s Aatif Nawaz.

Supporters can get involved by sending their match day comments and thoughts to, and we’ll publish the best ones on our live text commentary in the Match Centre.

Supporters can also watch the Live Stream and get instant push notifications of all wickets, innings and match results via the Edgbaston app, which is free to download on iOS and Android.

Match updates will also be available across the Club’s social media accounts, simply search for @WarwickshireCCC.

Next up

Derbyshire at Derby (Friday 27 May, 7pm)

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