Vitality Blast
Wed 16 June, 18:45

Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester

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Leicestershire Foxes

Leicestershire Foxes

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Leicestershire Foxes


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Blast Report: Foxes v Bears

Skipper Will Rhodes posted a career-best 79 in this format and Sam Hain overtook Ian Bell as Bears’ all-time T20 top scorer as North Group leaders Birmingham Bears notched a fourth consecutive win in the competition at Leicestershire.

The Bears – who have endured five straight away matches – continued their successful East Midlands road trip with a 35-run victory at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Led by the impressive Captain, the Bears posted 190 for seven on a humid evening in front of the Sky cameras.

Defending for the second successive fixture, Mark Robinson’s side restricted the hosts to 155 all out after an impressive bowling effort that was complimented with two fantastic catches and a pair of stumpings. Tim Bresnan taking three for 29 and Danny Briggs three for 35 were the stars with the ball.

Asked to bat first, the Bears lost both openers to Naveen’s slower balls, Ed Pollock miscuing his to short fine leg and Pieter Malan spooning one to mid-on, which left Bears 42 for two from the powerplay.

But Rhodes, dropped off Colin Ackermann on 27 when Naveen misjudged a chance at long-on, hit clearly to clear the ropes five times as he and Hain added 113 from 62 balls before Rhodes mistimed one to caught at square leg.

Hain looked set for a fourth half-century in five innings but going after Ben Mike he holed out to long on, where Lewis Hill took a fine catch above his head, with Carlos Brathwaite caught at wide long off in the same over.

Mike claimed two more in the final over, tracking a skier from Michael Burgess out to midwicket for a return catch, before Dan Mousley hit the next ball straight to deep point, although Bresnan pulled the hat-trick ball for six and overthrows made for an untidy end. 

Josh Inglis hit two of his first three balls to the boundary as Briggs opened the bowling for the Bears but was bowled trying to cut, setting the tone for a costly powerplay for the Foxes, who also lost Lilley to a stumping off Briggs, and Ackermann to a slower ball from Bresnan that he hit straight to mid-on to leave them 48 for three.

Rishi Patel raised home hopes with 30 from 25 balls and as he and Steel added 51 off 39 the Foxes needed 92 from eight overs. But after Patel’s flick off his legs found the fielder at square leg, Steel was beaten by Briggs and stumped, with Louis Kimber run out in the same over.

Hill was left unbeaten on 26 but wickets fell quickly at the other end, Bresnan dismissing Ben Mike and claiming his third wicket off the last ball as Ed Barnes holed out to deep midwicket.

Blast Preview: Foxes v Bears

The Bears are straight back into Vitality Blast action tonight when they face Leicestershire Foxes at Leicester in search of a fourth successive victory.

A resounding 55-run win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks last night lifted the Bears to the top of the North Group.

Three wins on the bounce on the road is a superb effort and a fourth tonight would complete a perfect platform for the home opener, against Lancashire Lightning at Edgbaston on Friday.

Last night’s win over the Steelbacks came courtesy of impressive cricket in all departments and Pieter Malan, whose accomplished half-century, along with Sam Hain’s, set up the victory, said the Bears are determined to deliver more of the same.

“There is a really great feeling in the changing room. We have different people stepping up in different situations which is what you want, so now hopefully we can keep the ball rolling at Leicester.

Pieter Malan

“I was just really happy to contribute to a win for the Bears. It’s a fantastic feeling. Hainy played it perfectly and hit boundaries when we needed to and we ran really well which was good. Then the bowlers executed brilliantly and all credit to them.”

At Leicester tonight, the Bears will select from the same squad as at Northampton minus Chris Woakes whose workload is being regulated after a long period without cricket. Woakes is scheduled to return to the side, along with England team-mate Olly Stone, against Lancashire on Friday.

Still unavailable are Rob Yates (illness), Adam Hose (hamstring) and Henry Brookes (thigh).

At the Upstonsteel County Ground tonight, the Bears will look to strength their place at the top of the table against a Foxes side which has lost their first four games. The Bears will be favourites…though also aware that the home side’s bowling options include one Colin Ackermann who, at Leicester in 2019, recorded the best T20 figures ever against the Bears – 4-0-18-7.


Will Rhodes (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Ethan Brookes, Michael Burgess, Sam Hain, Olly Hannon-Dalby, Jake Lintott, 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

Bears Blast Best: Leicestershire Foxes

The Bears and the Foxes have met 16 times in the Vitality Blast and going into this week’s game at Leicester, the Bears lead 10-6 in a series which has produced some magical cricket with bat and ball.

Club journalist Brian Halford recalls the Bears’ best against the Foxes with bat and ball, step forward Sam Hain and Fidel Edwards… 

Best Innings – 79

Sam Hain (Edgbaston, 2016)

Sam Hain has batted 67 times in T20 cricket. During 15 of those innings, he raised his bat to acknowledge applause for his half-century. That’s a fantastic ratio in the helter-skelter world of T20 and, pretty much every time, his fifties have set up a Bears win, as against the Foxes at Edgbaston in 2016.

Hain opened the batting with skipper Ian Bell. Opening pairs don’t come much classier than that and Foxes skipper Mark Pettini was soon wondering about the wisdom of his decision to field first.

Against an attack led by Aussie quick specialist Clint McKay, Hain and Bell had 100 on the board in 67 balls. Bell fell for 67 to end the opening stand at 125 but Hain advanced to 79 (52 balls, nine fours, two sixes) before falling to the final ball of the 16th over.

The Bears totalled 186 for four and eased to victory by 28 runs after Rikki Clarke squeezed the life out of the Foxes’ reply with a superb spell of 4-0-17-2.

Best Bowling – 4/22

Fidel Edwards (Edgbaston, 2019)

Debuts come in all forms, from dire to dazzling –  this was perhaps the most spectacular ever by a bowler for the Bears in the Blast.

West Indian paceman Fidel Edwards arrived on loan from Hampshire and, after the Bears chose to bowl, took wickets with his first, third and sixth deliveries.

His first ball for the Bears rattled the stumps of Neil Dexter. Two balls later, Mark Cosgrove’s furniture was always rearranged to send the Hollies Stand into rapture. When Edwards struck again with his sixth ball, Arron Lilley caught by Adam Hose, the roof went up. Edwards’ figures after his first over for the Bears: 1-0-2-3.

He returned later to add the wicket of Callum Parkinson, caught by Michael Burgess, and finish with 4-0-22-4.

Job done. The Foxes made a paltry 122 for nine and Ed Pollock (27), Sam Hain (31) and Ashton Agar (41 not out) saw the Bears home at a canter by seven wickets with 31 balls to spare. A cruise of a win set up by a very special over.

Blast Insight: Leicestershire Foxes

Here’s how tonight’s opposition line up for our fourth away game of the Vitality Blast.

Coach: Paul Nixon

Captain: Colin Ackermann

Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists

2020 Leading Runscorer: Aaron Lilley (278 @ 30.88)

2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Gavin Griffiths (10 @ 18.00), Callum Parkinson (10 @ 21.00).

Overseas players: Naveen-ul-Haq (Afghanistan – whole tournament), Josh Inglis (Australia – whole tournament).

Key man: Colin Ackermann – Leicestershire’s world-record holder – the only bowler to take seven wickets in a T20 innings – remains the county’s mainstay in all formats.

Flies under the radar: Gavin Griffiths – Joint leading wicket-taker in 2021, the Lancastrian pace bowler has 32 T20 wickets in four seasons since moving to the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Best Player Under 24: Naveen-ul-Haq – Only 21 years old, the Afghanistan fast bowler has already played in eight T20Is and seven ODIs. Known for his unusual action and an array of slower balls.

Blast expectations: Bottom of the North Division in 2019, Leicestershire surprised even themselves last year by almost reaching Finals Day for the first time since 2011. The Foxes squeezed into the knock-out stage with wins against Nottinghamshire and Lancashire before an unlucky exit in a low-scoring quarter-final against the eventual champions at Trent Bridge, when a last-ball misfield cruelly eliminated Leicestershire on the tie-breaker of runs scored in the Powerplay.

Whether they can go one better this season remains to be seen but overseas pair Naveen-ul-Haq and Josh Inglis come with good stats in the format, while Scott Steel, their signing from Durham, had an outstanding 2019, including a 30-ball 70 against the Foxes at Grace Road. They will hope at least to be in contention.

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