Report: Bears v Vikings, Vitality Blast
Yorkshire Vikings opened the Vitality Blast North Group table right up with a ten-wicket win over Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.
The Vikings put a brake on the Bears’ strong start to the campaign as they gained fulsome revenge for their ten-wicket Blast defeat at Edgbaston in 2021.
The Bears chose to bat but were bowled out for 101 with 19 balls unused. A superb collective Vikings bowling display was led by skipper David Willey (three for 17) with excellent support from Dominic Drakes and Mathew Revis (both two for 18) and Adil Rashid (two for 22).
The visitors then galloped to 106 without loss in 12.5 overs as Adam Lyth struck 58 (45 balls) and Dawid Malan 38 (33). The final throes were conducted in front of a large but subdued home crowd wishing they had more cricket to watch on a gorgeous summer evening.
The Vikings seized control from the start as four different bowlers delivered the first four overs and each took a wicket.
Willey bowled Paul Stirling to leave the Irishman nursing a third successive duck. Drakes, son of former Bears seamer Vasbert, forced Alex Davies to play on. Revis had Sam Hain caught behind, attempting to scoop, and Dominic Leech ousted Jake Bethell, caught at extra cover, as the Bears lurched to 28 for four from 28 balls.
Adam Hose and Chris Benjamin have provided a productive engine-room for the Bears this year but this time their counter attacks were cut off early. Hose (20, 16 balls) was trapped lbw by Rashid and Benjamin (26, 24) lifted Willey to deep mid-wicket.
The Vikings’ bowlers maintained the pressure immaculately to keep the Bears’ innings in chains. Revis returned to have Carlos Brathwaite caught in the ring, Rashid’s sharp return catch did for Craig Miles and Drakes’ first ball back took Olly Stone’s outside edge.
Last pair Jake Lintott and Danny Briggs found themselves with 29 balls at their disposal but survived only nine before Willey bowled Jake Lintott.
The Bears needed quick wickets to have any chance of retrieving the game but none arrived. Under no pressure, Lyth and Malan worked the ball around without needing to take great risks to reach 50 in 37 balls, posted with six over third man by Lyth off Stone.
Another six, pulled off Brathwaite, took Lyth to his half-century from 40 balls and the Vikings cruised home to reboot their qualification bid in the most spectacular fashion.