Vitality Blast
Fri 7 June, 18:30

Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

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Lancashire Lightning

Lancashire Lightning

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Lancashire Lightning


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Report: Lightning v Bears, Vitality Blast

Birmingham Bears ended their perfect start to the Vitality Blast falling just short of victory at Emirates Old Trafford, losing by eight runs despite a brilliant 59 from Sam Hain.

Lightning defended 177, sealing their third victory in four games as Wells opened with a career best-equalling 66 off 32 balls, then returned two for 25 with his leg-spinners and added two catches.

The Bears missed the chance to leapfrog their hosts to the group’s summit, losing for the first time in three matches as they replied to 176 for eight with 168 for six despite Sam Hain’s 59 off 44.

Lancashire are now unbeaten in 23 group fixtures at Emirates Old Trafford since the end of summer 2020, excluding matches where not a ball was bowled. Surrey did, however, win here in last summer’s quarter-final. 

Wells clattered five early sixes before bowling Chris Benjamin to put the skids under Birmingham at 56 for three in the seventh over of their chase. 

The tall left-hander, playing his 48th T20 match, lit up the first half of Lancashire’s innings with his flurry of sixes, including three successive over midwicket off Pakistan pacer Hassan Ali at the start of fourth over, which went for 27. 

That gave Lightning, invited to bat on a used pitch, valuable momentum at 47 for one having only taken eight runs from the first two overs.

Wells only scored one off his first six balls yet reached his fifty off 22, taking Lancashire to 73 for one after six.

He dominated an 80-run stand inside six overs with captain Keaton Jennings from 18 for one in the third over.

But the Bears fought back superbly with four wickets for 30, starting with Jennings stumped off a leg-side wide from left-arm wrist-spinner Jake Lintott.

As spin put the squeeze on, Lintott also had Wells stumped by captain Alex Davies to finish with two for 29, while Danny Briggs got Tom Bruce and a brilliant George Garton throw running in from deep midwicket ran out Matty Hurst – Lancashire 128 for five in the 14th.

Ali returned to get three wickets in the final over – Steven Croft (26), Chris Green and Luke Wood caught in the deep – as the hosts lost momentum. 

But their score was still very competitive courtesy of Wells’ early fireworks, which felt like the exception rather than the norm on this sluggish surface.

Lightning quicks Mitchell Stanley and Luke Wood removed openers Davies and Rob Yates caught at third and deep square-leg respectively in the space of three balls to leave the Bears 23 for two in the third over.

Benjamin was then bowled trying to slog sweep Wells, and the Bears were struggling. 

They reached 76 for three after 10 overs, needing 101 more.

England fringe quick Saqib Mahmood, playing his first T20 match in just over a year following injury, then had Dan Mousley caught at long-leg by action-man Wells – 76 for four in the 11th.

Bears then hit back, as they had done with the ball. Hain and Jacob Bethell shared 62 inside seven overs, the latter contributing 33 before falling caught behind off Wells. 

At 138 for five in the 17, Bears needed 39. But Hain, with a season’s best score in all formats to his name, then drilled Wood to Wells at mid-off – 147 for six with 11 balls left. That proved decisive, leaving Mahmood defending 24 off the last.

Hain said: “I think it was a gettable target. Credit to Lancashire, I thought Wells batted beautifully and bowled just as good. We thought as batting unit that it was definitely in reach to get.

“We lost wickets potentially at the wrong time in terms of momentum and that swinging back in Lancs’ favour. We know we’re playing good cricket, but we’re going to lose some along the way. 

“We have to dust ourselves down, get back on the M6 and we have another game tomorrow (against Durham).”

Buy your Vitality Blast tickets in advance & save

Tickets for this summer’s Vitality Blast are on sale now and fans can save up to £6 when purchased in advance.

Tickets available from just £22, while under 16s are only £5. And make further savings when you book as a group of six or more.

Buy Tickets More Info

Preview: Lightning v Bears, Vitality Blast

The top two teams in the Vitality Blast North Group face off as the unbeaten Bears travel to Emirates Old Trafford to take on Lancashire Lightning.

Lightning are setting the early pace with two victories from their opening three fixtures – beating Derbyshire Falcons by 57 runs in their latest outing – but Bears travel north high on confidence after two opening weekend wins.

Bowlers have been on top in the competition this season with only four of 42 innings so far topping 200 runs.

And Bears First Team Coach Mark Robinson believes he’s blessed with one of the best bowling attacks in the Blast.

“We’ve got one of the best bowling units in the country,” said Robinson, “with a lot of bases covered, when everyone is fit. We’ve had the luxury of being able to put out an outstanding bowling attack in the first two games and they’ve produced.

“Al Davies has a lot of options. He had two spinners unused in the last game, George Garton only bowled one over. It’s great that our captain has plenty of options if one of the bowlers is put under pressure.

“Aamir Jamal is fully fit again and Craig Miles is back. It’s important to have that depth as with two games in little more than 24 hours we may need to rotate to keep bowlers fresh.

“Hassan Ali is also fine. I know a few fans may have feared the worst when he came off after bowling his last over against Notts but it was just a bit of cramp.”

Fellow seamer Che Simmons has picked up a knee injury and will be out for around four weeks, while Kai Smith broke a bone in his hand playing for the Second XI and could be out for up to six weeks.

England Bear Chris Woakes went public in the week explaining he’d taken some time away from cricket following the death of his father.

Robinson added: “Clearly it’s been a difficult time for Chris and his family. He came home early from the IPL following his father’s passing and quite rightly cricket has been put on hold. The Club has been offering him whatever support he needs.

“He’s recently been in doing a bit of bowling and working his way back to fitness.  I’m sure we’ll see him back in a Bears shirt soon once he’s ready. We look forward to welcoming him back.”


Alex Davies (C & WK)
Hassan Ali
Ed Barnard
Chris Benjamin
Jacob Bethell
Danny Briggs
George Garton
Richard Gleeson
Sam Hain
Jake Lintott
Craig Miles
Dan Mousley
Rob Yates


This will be the Bears’ 21st match against Lancashire in the competition. We’re all square with 8 wins each (3 abandoned and 1 No Result).

How to follow

Members and supporters can follow the match live in our Match Centre at, which will include a free to watch Live Stream and a live text commentary. You can also see a ball-by-ball feed and watch highlights of all the action.

Supporters can get involved by sending their match day comments and thoughts on Twitter via @WarwickshireCCC and we’ll publish the best ones on our live text commentary in the Match Centre.

Supporters can also watch the Live Stream and get instant push notifications of all wickets, innings and match results via the Edgbaston app, which is free to download on iOS and Android.

Match updates will also be available across the Club’s social media accounts, simply search for @WarwickshireCCC.

Buy your Vitality Blast tickets in advance & save

Tickets for this summer’s Vitality Blast are on sale now and fans can save up to £6 when purchased in advance.

Tickets available from just £22, while under 16s are only £5. And make further savings when you book as a group of six or more.

Buy Tickets More Info
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