Blast Report: Falcons v Bears
Birmingham Bears made it back-to-back Vitality Blast away wins with a thrilling three-wicket win over Derbyshire Falcons at Derby.
The Falcons made 160 for eight against an attack led by Carlos Brathwaite (two for 24), Jake Lintott (two for 29) and Chris Woakes (two for 38).
Dan Mousley then underpinned the chase with a skilful 56 (40 balls, six fours, one six) before some lusty late blows from Brathwaite and Woakes swung a tight and entertaining game the Bears’ way. Victory arrived with six balls to spare.
After choosing to bat, the Falcons were restricted to 49 for two in the first powerplay, mainly due to two excellent overs from Brathwaite which cost just 11. The early wickets went to Danny Briggs, who had Luis Reece caught by Ed Pollock at short fine leg, and Woakes, who flattened Harry Came’s leg stump. It was 49 for three after Lintott’s second ball removed Billy Godleman who chipped to Briggs at point.
Just 26 runs arrived from the five overs, six to ten, and the rising pressure on the batsmen told when Matt Critchley took a liberty with a good ball from Brathwaite and sliced a slog to Woakes at point.
A brilliant catch from Mousley then did for Leus Du Plooy who launched Lintott to wide long on and saw the fielder race round and dive full-length to take a great grab inches from the ground.
Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Brooke Guest batted enterprisingly to add 62 in seven overs but fell to successive balls from Brathwaite, the former run out and the latter caught by Lintott at short fine leg. Woakes collected his second wicket when Mattie McKiernan was caught by Craig Miles at deep square.
The Bears’ reply hit early turbulence at 18 for three after 21 balls. Pieter Malan, called up to replace the injured Adam Hose, fended Logan Van Beek to point, Ed Pollock thundered a drive to mid-off and was brilliantly caught by Godleman, then Will Rhodes tickled a catch leg-side to the wicketkeeper.
A valuable stand of 55 in 34 balls between Sam Hain and Dan Mousley ended when Hain (25, 20 balls) lifted Critchley to long off.
That was 73 for four but Mousley and Michael Burgess kept the Bears in the game with a stand of 49 in 36 balls. Mousley reached a polished fifty (34 balls) with a six flicked over long leg off George Scrimshaw but fell in the next over when he lifted Critchley to long off.
Critchley then held a superb catch at long off to dismiss Burgess (22, 17 balls) to leave the Bears needing 32 from 19 balls with two new batsmen at the crease.
Fortunately, those two batsmen were C.Brathwaite and C.Woakes. Brathwaite biffed successive fours and, after he holed out in search of another, Woakes lifted six over mid-wicket and four to third man from successive balls to reel in the target.
It was Briggs who hammered the winning boundary with six balls to spare and the Bears will head for Northampton on Tuesday with momentum building nicely.