Report: Falcons v Bears, Vitality Blast
Bears’ winning streak in the North Group came to an end at Derby as the Falcons’ Wayne Madsen continued his remarkable run of form in the Vitality Blast to set up a 17-run victory.
Madsen came into the game on the back of three fifties and a hundred and delivered another white ball masterclass with an unbeaten 71 off 52 balls out of 174 for 5.
Tom Woods hammered 39 from 19 as he and Madsen plundered 79 off 41 balls with Glenn Maxwell taking 2 for 19 in four overs.
The Bears hopes of equalling their best ever start in the T20 with a fifth victory quickly faded as they slipped to 45 for 4 in the powerplay with England’s Moeen Ali falling for 16.
Maxwell briefly threatened with 29 off 22 balls before Dan Mousley and Ed Barnard added 49 off 30 but the Bears came up short on 157 for 9 with Zak Chappell taking 3 for 32 and Zaman Khan 3 for 34.
Ali, playing his first game for his home county for 17 years, had elected to bowl first on a sunny evening at the Incora County Ground.
Luis Reece swung Maxwell for six before pulling Henry Brookes into the hands of deep square which brought in the prolific Madsen who cut his first ball for four.
He drilled Craig Miles past mid on for another four as the Falcons ended the powerplay on 43 for 1 and Haider Ali greeted Jake Lintott by launching him over the ropes at wide long on.
His attempts to do the same to Maxwell was pouched by Mousley at deep midwicket but Madsen was the wicket the Bears most wanted.
Maxwell beat Leus Du Plooy’s charge to end his impressive spell but Madsen was finding the gaps and after surviving a hard caught and bowled chance to Mousley on 47, pulled the spinner for his ninth four to reach yet another 50 off 40 balls.
It was an impressive display of timing and placement on a slow pitch and when Tom Wood opened his shoulders to club Brookes for two fours and a six in a penultimate over which cost 27, the momentum had swung to the Falcons.
Wood pulled Miles to deep midwicket to end a stand of 79 off 41 balls but he had helped take the Falcons to a competitive score.
Ali launched the chase by lofting Chappell over long on which resulted in the ball being changed but when Alex Davies tried to emulate his skipper he skied a catch to mid off.
It is difficult to keep Madsen out of the game at the moment and the 39-year-old plunged forward at cover in the fourth over to hold a fine catch when Ali checked a drive at Khan although he appeared to hurt his right knee in the process.
Maxwell dispatched George Scrimshaw’s first two balls to the ropes but the fast bowler responded by bowling Sam Hain when he backed away to drive.
Bears were in deep trouble when Chris Benjamin gloved a pull at Chappell through to the wicketkeeper with everything now resting for the visitors on Maxwell.
But he drilled Mattie McKiernan to long off in the 10th over and despite Mousley and Barnard’s rally, the Falcons kept their discipline to record back-to-back wins.
First Team Coach Mark Robinson said: “It wasn’t an easy wicket to bat on, it was probably a 150 wicket, anything in that region would take some chasing so they were 25 runs over par. and when you are four down in the powerplay, you don’t win many games.
“We knew what to do, we just didn’t execute but we’ve had four great games and as you say you’re going to lose one on the way. We didn’t get it right today but you move on.
“We’ve got outplayed today and that’s going to happen every now and again and the outstanding innings of the game was from Madsen who played the spin in particular really, really well and got his team a score that makes it really difficult in the chase.
“We had those bad three overs where it really got away from us and as I say we lost wickets and couldn’t really get that partnership but we’ve been brilliant for four games and today we’ve been outplayed and that can happen.”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.