Vitality Blast
Wed 31 May, 18:30

The County Ground, Northampton

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Northants Steelbacks

Northants Steelbacks

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Northants Steelbacks


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Report: Steelbacks v Bears, Vitality Blast

Rob Yates hit his highest T20 score as Birmingham Bears posted an imposing 202 for six against Northamptonshire Steelbacks to set up their fourth straight win in this year’s Vitality Blast by 21 runs.

Yates scored 71 off 53 balls (eight fours, one six) and shared a 100-run opening partnership with Alex Davis (46 off 29 balls) a record for the Bears against the Steelbacks.

Freddie Heldreich stemmed the flow of runs by removing Davies and Australian dangerman Glenn Maxwell for 0 in the space of two balls, but while AJ Tye picked up two wickets in the closing overs, Sam Hain blasted 48 off just 27 balls to push the Bears past 200.

Northamptonshire’s chase got off to a flying start with Ricardo Vasconcelos hitting 65 off 39 balls (13 fours) but despite enterprising innings from captain David Willey (33) and Lewis Mcanus (29), wickets fell at regular intervals with Craig Miles returning career best T20 bowling figures of four for 29.

Willey conceded just a single off a tight opening over before Yates and Davies went on the offensive. Davies (five fours, one six) rode his luck amid a flurry of aggressive shots as the Bears reached 55 at the end of the powerplay.

Davies offered a difficult chance on 23 which Tye couldn’t hold onto running back. He then miscued Tom Taylor over the keeper’s head before Taylor himself put down a straightforward chance off Heldreich.

In between those moments of fortune he mixed some classic drives and late cuts with huge shots over the infield, swinging James Sales high over deep square leg for the first six of the innings.

Yates who had capitalised early on with consecutive boundaries off stray legside balls from Taylor, duly reached his half-century off 38 balls. He brought up the Bears’ 100 at the halfway mark by striking Tye for four and then swinging him high over fine leg for an big six.

But Heldreich held his nerve to strike with the first two balls of the eleventh over. First Davies was sharply stumped by McManus before Maxwell was well caught by Tye on the boundary as he aimed a big six down the ground.

Yates was joined by Hain in a stand of 49, the former disdainfully smashing Taylor straight down the ground and smacking him through the covers for consecutive boundaries before meting out similar treatment to Heldreich.

Yates’ innings finally ended when he pulled Willey high to deep midwicket where Cobb took a stunning leaping catch.

The next two wickets both fell to boundary catches by Taylor off Tye removing Dan Mousley, and Chris Benjamin. Ed Barnard fell to a boundary catch off Willey in the penultimate over before Hain struck Tye for four and a six in the final over to take the Bears past 200.

Vasconcelos motored through his innings. He punched dismissively down the ground and cut powerfully as he reached his half-century off 30 balls. He was particularly severe on Mousley, hitting him for three consecutive boundaries in his first over and two in his second.

Such was Vasconcelos’ dominance that Chris Lynn only made 7 out of their opening stand of 41 in 4.2 overs before the Australian was caught off Miles before Josh Cobb also fell cheaply to Mousley.

Vasconcelos looked well set before he sliced one from Miles straight to point with the hosts 81 for three in the tenth over. Saif Zaib played a cameo of 14 but was caught off Miles.

Willey and McManus put on 35 in 3.3 overs before the skipper was caught off Briggs at backward point. McManus picked up the mantle, carving Maxwell away for six and a four before he was caught on the boundary attempting another big shot. When Graeme White became Miles’ fourth victim, the game was almost over.

Miles said: “It’s always a tough place to come here, completely different to Edgbaston. So we knew what we were going to come up against and we had to make sure we were on the money with everything and I think the guys assessed conditions, batted really well and got us up to another 200 score. And then with 200 on the board, it’s always quite a lot of runs in T20. So, we just knew we had to execute our plans, take some wickets early, which we did in the powerplay and then pretty much sealed the deal from that.

“To have a great power play and then get 200, it’s almost the perfect innings and those guys I thought they were very watchful in the first few overs and then they progressed nicely

“It’s a fast-scoring ground, I think the par winning score is 190, so we knew we had to get somewhere close to that or above.

“I’m pretty happy! I mean comparing it to the game at home the other day, where I didn’t bowl a ball, not required and then dropped a catch, it was kind of chalk and cheese in that respect! That’s what I think Davo’s turned to me for today. A key one in Lynn because obviously he can get going, and to take one every over, it just stems the flow of runs and brings us right into it.”

£15 tickets for home quarter-final

Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.

Tickets ware available online at or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.

Buy Tickets

Preview: Steelbacks v Bears, Vitality Blast

Alex Davies will again take charge as the Bears look to make it four wins from four against the Steelbacks in Northampton.

The Bears have started quickly, defeating Yorkshire Vikings at Blast Off, Leicestershire Foxes on Friday and Lancashire Lightning on Monday in front of a bumper crowd.

An early tournament favourite, Lightning came to Edgbaston unbeaten, but the newly termed ‘spin quartet’ had other ideas very quickly

“I can’t fault the boys in any way really,” said Davies, “We turned up expecting a tough game and our bowlers turned it on, allowing for a pretty straightforward chase.

“We adapted to conditions well and saw that spin was tough to hit. Craig Miles and Ed Barnard didn’t even get to bowl, apologies to them, but conditions dictated our approach. The spin quartet – including Maxwell – are coming up trumps.

“Danny has been outstanding and he’s Mr Reliable, Jake has a knack for picking up wickets, Mouse is our hidden gem and Maxwell has quality and all that experience.”

Those 20 overs of disciplined bowling, which dismissed the visitors for 98, were also backed up in the field.

“We spoke pre-match that we weren’t at our best in the field at Leicester,” Davies added. “We had a couple of drops and a few misfields so we wanted to get that right.

“Brookesy’s catch was excellent, Yates with the one-hander and Dan did incredible to grab one low down. It’s so hard to do that when you’re bowling. There was a real emphasis on that today and we were back to our standards.”

Whilst Dan Mousley and Danny Briggs earned the accolades post-match, Davies’ contribution should not go unnoticed.

A composed 54 (39 balls, 6×4, 1×6) to see the side home, followed an afternoon where nothing went wrong.

Coming in at 62/4, Colin deGrandomme was looking to make amends and show his former crowd his big-hitting potential. The wicket-keeper had other ideas, however, bringing in Chris Benjamin at slip, who he found five balls later.

“We had them on the ropes, so I could be aggressive in my captaincy,” the 28-year-old conceded. “Jake always wants a slip, it came off and Benji made a good catch.

“It was nice to see a few old pals, have a bit of banter and there were a few words during the game. It’s irrelevant to me though. I want to win games for the Bears, whether that be against my old club or any club.

“I’ve lost three out of three tosses, but won three games, so I’ll try and keep that up. The Steelbacks have some big hitters in their ranks and we know the challenge they’ll pose, especially at home.

“We have got to keep building on this momentum, whilst adapting to what’s in front of us.”


Mark Robinson has named an unchanged squad from Monday’s win over Lancashire Lightning.

Hassan Ali remains sidelined with an ankle injury as is looking to return for our LV= Insurance County Championship fixture at Nottinghamshire, starting on Sunday 11 June.

Chris Woakes has joined up with the England squad ahead of their Test match against Ireland at Lord’s starting this week.

Alex Davies (c)
Ed Barnard
Chris Benjamin
Jacob Bethell
Danny Briggs
Henry Brookes
Sam Hain
Oliver Hannon-Dalby
Jake Lintott
Glenn Maxwell
Craig Miles
Dan Mousley
Rob Yates

How to follow

Members and supporters can follow updates in our Match Centre at with the match live on Sky Sports Cricket.

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 get updates 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.

£15 tickets for home quarter-final

Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.

Tickets ware available online at or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.

Buy Tickets
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