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NatWest T20 Blast 2017
Tue 25 July, 18:30

Fischer County Ground, Grace Road, Leicester

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Leicestershire Foxes

Leicestershire Foxes

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Leicestershire Foxes

Bears

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Report: Leicestershire Foxes v Birmingham Bears, NatWest T20 Blast 2017

Birmingham Bears made it back-to-back NatWestT20Blast wins after beating North Group leaders Leicestershire Foxes in highly impressive style by 30 runs at the Fischer County Ground.

Sam Hain underpinned the Bears total of 187 for seven with a classy 57 (35 balls, seven fours, one six) – his third T20 half-century and first of the season.

The Foxes were then restricted to 157 for eight as Aaron Thomason delivered a T20-best 4-0-33-3, supported by the ever-excellent Jeetan Patel (4-0-17-1).

Put in, the Bears soon lost both openers as Ed Pollock was stumped and Ian Bell skied a catch to mid on, but Hain and William Porterfield got the innings motoring with a stand of 63 in 33 balls. Hain struck Mat Pillans for four, six, four from successive balls and Porterfield hit three sixes before falling to another catch at mid on, for 35 (23 balls).

Colin De Grandhomme and Grant Elliott scored 15 and 16 from 11 balls respectively, the former denting a floodlight pylon with a huge pulled six. Hain reached his half-century from 28 balls but when he missed with a big hit at Pillans and was bowled, the Bears needed some late impetus. Keith Barker and Alex Mellor supplied it with an unbroken stand of 43 from the last 20 balls.

In the 19th over, from Gavin Griffiths, Barker cleared the ropes over mid-wicket and Mellor lapped an outrageous six over the wicketkeeper. Barker then lifted McKay over the pavilion and out of the ground as the Bears posted a challenging total.

Ronchi launched the Foxes reply in spectacular fashion with 16 from the first over but a fine catch by De Grandhomme at mid-wicket off Boyd Rankin removed Cameron Delport in the second.

Mark Cosgrove’s aggressive 22 (12 balls) was ended by Thomason’s second ball, which he lifted to Bell at cover and Colin Ackerman also came out all guns blazing (13, seven balls) but was bowled by Patel’s fifth delivery.

Thomason then followed up the vital wicket of Cosgrove with the even bigger one of Ronchi (27, 20 balls), who he bowled before adding the scalp of Mark Pettini, caught by Elliott at long on, three balls later.

The Foxes’ dangerous lower order hit hard but were tied down by the experienced and skills of Patel and Elliott (3-0-15-1) while De Grandhomme single over, for six runs, also cranked up the pressure on the fading Foxes.

Preview: Leicestershire Foxes v Birmingham Bears, NatWest T20 Blast 2017

First-team coach Jim Troughton has saluted the “fearless” batting of young opener Ed Pollock whose debut half-century triggered Birmingham Bears’ return to winning ways.

The Bears will travel to high-flying Leicestershire Foxes tomorrow in confident mood after Pollock’s explosive 66 (40 balls, five fours, three sixes) laid the platform for a 20-run win over Derbyshire Falcons yesterday.

What pleased me most was the selflessness of the whole team. We made a few changes to the batting order and people just took it in their stride and did their jobs very well.

Jim Troughton

The Bears totalled a hefty 197 for four after Colin De Grandhomme smashed 65 from 28 balls with five fours and five sixes before his Black Caps team-mate Grant Elliott took four for 37 and Keith Barker added three for 33 to ensure the total was successfully defended.

The excellent victory included big contributions from some highly experienced players – but 22-year-old Pollock was the catalyst.

“We’ve been impressed by Ed for a while now and after the two T20s we played in Shropshire before the tournament we knew he was a proper option this year,” said Troughton.

“He came in and played fearless cricket which was brilliant to see and was exactly what we needed as a group.
“Colin then went in and played some extraordinary shots, most notably hitting that low full toss over extra cover for six – I don’t know how he did that! And then we defended the total really well.

“Derbyshire are a good T20 side with a lot of attacking batsmen but Grant bowled cleverly and Keith has come back into the T20 team with some really good performances.

“I think what pleased me most was the selflessness of the whole team. We made a few changes to the batting order and people just took it in their stride and did their jobs very well.

“It was a good win – but only one win. Now we go to Leicestershire Foxes, who have some very dangerous players, and have to do the same again.”

While Troughton’s team head for Leicester tomorrow, Bears supporters not making the trip to the Fischer County Ground have another attractive option close to home at the Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground.

Warwickshire 2nd XI for a three-day game against Northamptonshire will include Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Jonathan Trott, Chris Wright and Tim Ambrose.

“It will be good for those guys to play some red-ball cricket because our next championship match is not too far away,” Troughton said.

“We have had to rethink Olly Stone’s return a little bit. It’s nothing serious but, after the T20 game he played, his calves were sore and we have to manage his situation carefully because he was out for so long. He only bowled four overs but they were very quick overs and it was high-octane stuff, so we’ve got to be patient.”

Birmingham Bears Squad

  • Ian Bell (Captain)
  • Keith Barker
  • Colin de Grandhomme
  • Grant Elliott
  • Sam Hain
  • Oliver Hannon-Dalby
  • Ateeq Javid
  • Alex Mellor (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Ed Pollock
  • Josh Poysden
  • William Porterfield
  • Boyd Rankin
  • Aaron Thomason
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