Vitality Blast
Sun 20 June, 14:30

Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street

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Blast Report: Durham v Bears

Durham made it four wins out of six in their Vitality Blast campaign as Ben Stokes made a successful return in a 22-run win over Birmingham Bears at Emirates Riverside.

Stokes made his first appearance since April returning from a broken finger, and his first game for the hosts since August 2018. He scored 29, notched one wicket and claimed two catches, although Cameron Bancroft’s unbeaten 76 was the foundation of Durham’s triumph.

The Bears lacked the pace to accelerate their innings to chase down the required 186 to win. Brydon Carse recorded career-best figures of three for 30 to limit Birmingham to 163 for eight, allowing the home side to ease over the line and join Yorkshire Vikings and the Bears on nine points at the top of the North Group. 

After a 10-week absence from the field, Stokes was called into action in the first over as David Bedingham’s run of fifties came to an end when he was stumped off Danny Briggs’ bowling. The England man found his rhythm by sweeping Briggs for back-to-back boundaries.

Stokes looked to accelerate and notched two further fours off Carlos Brathwaite, but his old adversary accounted for his wicket as he was caught behind attempting a reverse sweep for 29. Despite his departure, Durham were in a solid position at the end of the powerplay at 51 for two. 

Bancroft kept the innings ticking through the middle overs, although boundaries were at a premium considering the size of the outfield. The skipper put on a partnership of 88 for the fourth wicket with Sean Dickson handing the hosts a strong platform for the final five overs. Bancroft reached his maiden T20 fifty for Durham from 40 deliveries, providing the anchor for his side.

The Aussie’s confidence was flowing towards the climax of the innings, ramping and sweeping Brathwaite to the boundary, allowing Durham to post 185 from their 20 overs. 

Birmingham made a solid start in the powerplay, but Stokes ended the opening stand with a brilliant catch to remove Ed Pollock after he skied a Carse delivery. The Bears reached 48 for one after the first six overs to keep up with the required rate. Adam Hose took a painful blow for Stokes in a sensitive region and struggled to regain his composure before being bowled by Scott Borthwick.

Will Rhodes made a brisk 36 from 25 balls before falling to Liam Trevaskis, putting pressure on Sam Hain to keep the chase moving. Brathwaite announced his arrival at the crease with a huge six over mid-off, but Carse had his revenge as Stokes claimed his second catch of the day to dismiss the West Indian. 

Tim Bresnan offered late hope with 20 from eight deliveries, but the Bears ultimately fell short courtesy of late strikes from Borthwick and Stokes to close out the win for the hosts.

Blast Preview: Durham v Bears

The Bears were back on the road, a rather long road, as their hectic Vitality Blast schedule takes them to Chester-le-Street to face Durham on Sunday afternoon (2.30pm).

It has been a physically taxing start to the tournament for the Bears, with hundreds of motorway miles, but they have handled it brilliantly with four successive away wins taking them top of the North Group.

That fine effort continues their excellent start to the season – the Bears also sit top of Group 1 in the LV= Insurance County Championship.  

Next up in both competitions come Durham. They visit Edgbaston for a championship game on July 4, but before then the buoyant Bears face five more Blast games – at The Riverside tomorrow then at home to Derbyshire Falcons (next Thursday), Durham (next Saturday) and then Yorkshire Vikings and Notts Outlaws on Wednesday and Friday the following week. 

Tomorrow’s contest will present a tough test for Will Rhodes’s side. After the washout at home to Lancashire Lightning last night, they remain top with nine points from six games, but Durham are one of three teams close behind with seven points from five. The northern county has maintained a strong start despite a number of players having to self-isolate after a member of the support staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The Bears welcome Adam Hose back into the squad following a hamstring injury. Henry Brookes (thigh) and Rob Yates (illness) remain sidelined while Chris Woakes has left to join the England camp ahead of the IT20 series against Sri Lanka starting in Cardiff on Wednesday. Olly Stone is unavailable due to a stress fracture of the lower back.

Jake Lintott is required to serve a period of isolation after developing COVID symptoms at home yesterday and subsequently recording a positive test today.

Lintott did not join the squad at Edgbaston yesterday for the rained-affected Blast fixture versus Lancashire Lightning. No members of the Bears squad have been in contact with Lintott since the development of the symptoms, with a regular testing process covering all players.


Will Rhodes (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Jacob Bethell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess, Sam Hain, Olly Hannon-Dalby, Adam Hose, Pieter Malan, Craig Miles, Dan Mousley, Ed Pollock

How to follow

Warwickshire Members and supporters will be able to follow all the action via the Match Centre on and through the Edgbaston app (available for free on iOS and Android).

Supporters can also keep up to date with the scores and in-play clips through the Match Centre on

Blast Insight: Durham

Here’s a look at Durham ahead of our visit to Emirates Riverside for our sixth away game of the 2021 Vitality Blast.

Coach: James Franklin

Last Year’s Performance: Fourth (North Group)

2020 Leading Runscorer: Alex Lees (365 @ 52.14)

2020 Leading Wicket Takers: Matty Potts (13 @ 18.07), Paul Coughlin (13 @ 16.23)

Overseas players: Cameron Bancroft (Australia – whole tournament), David Bedingham (South Africa – whole tournament)

Key man: Cameron Bancroft – Durham’s batting beyond the powerplay has been an issue for two seasons. Bancroft should be able to use his expansive strokeplay to maintain the pace of the innings.

Flies under the radar: Graham Clark – Clark has been quietly impressive at the top of the order. Clark provides a spark from the off, notching two fifties last term with a strike rate of 171.71.

Best Player Under 24: Matty Potts – Potts broke his own career-best figures in the Blast three times in 2020. He was accurate and deadly bowling in the powerplay. Potts will be a key player this term.

Blast expectations: Durham fell agonisingly short of the quarter-finals for the second Blast campaign in a row. James Franklin’s side received outstanding contributions from individuals, notably Lees, Clark, Potts, Coughlin and Ben Raine. However, in the crunch moments, Durham were not able to rise to the occasion.

There is not a great deal of turnover in the squad, losing former captain Nathan Rimmington, Scott Steel and Farhaan Berhardien, none of whom excelled last term.

Bancroft should provide experience and the ability to clear the fence in the middle order and the propsect of Ben Stokes lining up in the initial stages is a mouth-watering proposition. David Bedingham will also be richer for his experience last year.

The batting ranks look solid, while a core of bowlers of Potts, Coughlin and Brydon Carse at their peak is an exciting prospect. Look for a quarter-final push from Durham in the 2021 season.

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Full scorecard

The live stream is hosted by Durham Cricket.

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Live scorecard

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

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