Vitality Blast 2019
Sun 25 August, 14:30

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Bears

Bears

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Bears

Northamptonshire Steelbacks

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Blast Report: Bears v Steelbacks

Northants were cruising in a chase of 151 at 128 for 2 in the 15th over. But wickets began to tumble and five were left from five balls. Ashraf then guided Henry Brookes wide of third man for two before striking the winning boundary over extra-cover.

The home side chose to bat on a used wicket but slumped to 109 for 5 in the 17th over only for Will Rhodes, with 45 in 31 balls, and Chris Green, 23 from 13 to boost them to 150 for 6, taking 20 runs from the final seven balls of the innings.

Before then, the Northants’ spinners had a grip on the innings with turn available. Rob Keogh spun one sharply past Matt Lamb’s inside edge to bowl him for just one and deceived Adam Hose to have him stumped for 24. Left-arm spinner Graeme White also earned a stumping when Dom Sibley advanced and missed an off-drive to fall for 24 in 20 balls.

Rhodes kept the Bears together – twice slog-sweeping to the short leg-side fence – and the blast from Green in the final over, hitting three fours off Ben Sanderson, gave the home side something to defend.

The Northants chase was given a bright start by Richard Levi, who made a timely return to form in making 44 from 27 balls – his highest score in the competition this season. He took three fours from Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s opening over before dealing with Jeetan Patel’s off-spin by twice sweeping him for four. Levi eventually fell trying to hit Rhodes over mid-off but he laid the platform for the pursuit at 73 for 2 in the eighth over.

Captain Josh Cobb then shared a stand of 55 in seven overs that appeared to have put the game to bed, Cobb striking two sixes into the Raglan Stand. But trying to repeat the shot he holed out to deep midwicket for 42 from 36 balls and when Dwaine Pretorius’ measured 26 from 24 balls was ended by a superb low return catch by Patel, work was left for the Northants middle order.

The task appeared straightforward with 16 needed from 18 balls but Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh couldn’t find the boundaries that would have killed the game. One reserve-sweep from Wakely earned four past backward point but Keogh was bowled swinging at Green’s final delivery and Wakely then fell to a Brookes nip-backer first ball of the final over.

Suddenly the Bears sensed a chance and Tom Sole would have run himself out taking a run straight to mid-on had Lamb’s throw struck. Ashraf, with four needed from four, then took over to win the game.

Blast Preview: Bears v Steelbacks

It’s win or bust for the Bears.

Three games to go, two at home, and they’re looking from the outside in.

It’s pretty simple. Come on Sunday and win a game of cricket.

Jeetan Patel

But, despite that, there’s still an opportunity.

Friday’s derby defeat was tough to take for the side, but there’s still plenty of belief they can gain that all-important momentum.

“Everything’s about momentum in this competition so let’s get it now,” said Captain Jeetan Patel.

“There are three games to go and everyone’s beating everyone.

“It’s been hard and we haven’t managed to get on a roll on at any point.

“We’ve changed batting line-ups, looked at different options but we’re not making excuses.

“But that’s part of our learning.”

The Bears continue to show promising signs.

On Friday, the hosts reached 184/5, with excellent contributions from Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Matt Lamb and Michael Burgess.

The Captain mentioned the latter two specifically for praise.

“Those players are really good players who work really hard,” the 39-year-old added.

“It’s just a shame they couldn’t be on the winning side of it because I think they deserved it tonight.”

Next up on Sunday are the Steelbacks who are also in the same must-win mode.

Northants sit ninth, but the like Bears have a game in hand on the fourth, fifth and sixth-placed teams.

“We have to lift ourselves,” concluded Patel.

“If these guys come in on Sunday disappointed and down then they shouldn’t be there.

“It’s pretty simple. Come on Sunday and win a game of cricket.

“The fans were so good tonight, especially the way they were singing at the back end.

“It’s awesome to play at Edgbaston when it’s full.”

Live scorecard

The match live scorecard will appear here once the match is in play.

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{{(inning.bowling_team_id === home_team.id) ? home_team.name : away_team.name}} Bowling Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
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