Vitality Blast 2018
Wed 4 July, 18:30

Trent Bridge, Nottingham

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Nottinghamshire Outlaws

Nottinghamshire Outlaws

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Nottinghamshire Outlaws


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Blast Report: Bears at Outlaws

Birmingham Bears gained revenge for defeat in last year’s final by comfortably defeating Notts Outlaws by eight wickets on the opening evening of this season’s Vitality Blast.

Set a victory target of 156, the Bears romped to the finishing line with 2.4 overs to spare, thanks to an impressive unbroken partnership of 121 between Ian Bell and Sam Hain.

Bell ended with 82 not out, made from 57 balls, with Hain, who hit the winning runs, making an unbeaten 45 as the Bears reached 159 for two.

Earlier, Notts were restricted to 155 for seven, after being asked to bat first in front of a Trent Bridge crowd of 12,394 spectators.

Riki Wessels top-scored with 41 for Notts, made from 29 deliveries, but the innings was only given some respectability by timely knocks from Luke Fletcher and Billy Root in the closing stages.

Root finished with an unbeaten 33 from 29 balls, whilst Fletcher hit Jeetan Patel for three sixes and a four from consecutive deliveries on his way to a 14-ball score of 27.

Samit Patel, man-of-the-match in last September’s final, was one of two ducks made in the early stages of the contest. Patel pushed his first delivery straight back into the grateful hands of Colin de Grandhomme, who returned figures of two for 24.

The other player who failed to score was Chris Nash, who endured a miserable T20 debut for the county. He was given out in the first over, caught off the bowling of Henry Brookes.

Nash then suffered further, when he injured himself diving in the outfield and had to be led off with a shoulder injury.

Harry Gurney, in his 100th T20 match removed Ed Pollock with his first delivery of the match and Ish Sodhi bowled Adam Hose but they were the only two successes as Notts used seven different bowlers in attempting to prise Bell and Hain apart.

Bell reached his 50 from only 33 balls and left it to Hain to finish the match with a clip through midwicket off Gurney.

Next up for the Bears is the West Midlands Derby against local rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Blackfinch New Road this Friday, before returning to Edgbaston for the first home game against Yorkshire Vikings on Sunday.

Troughton previews Bears start away to Outlaws

Jim Troughton believes Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme have brought a “sense of fun” to Birmingham Bears – and is excited to see where that spirit will take his team in the 2018 Vitality Blast.

Elliott and De Grandhomme are back in Birmingham and, along with fellow Black Caps star Jeetan Patel, will form the backbone of the Bears’ T20 team in the campaign which starts away to Notts Outlaws tomorrow.

T20 cricket is all about playing instinctively and enjoying it and that’s something that Grant and Colin have really brought to the squad.

Jim Troughton

Last season all three were big contributors – Elliott as captain and all-rounder, De Grandhomme as big-hitting batsman and Patel as skilful spin-bowler – as the Bears reached the final.

And while Patel’s merits have been benefiting the Bears for years, it was the arrival of his two New Zealand team-mates that took the team’s T220 cricket to another level last year, believes first-team coach Troughton.

“T20 cricket is all about playing instinctively and enjoying it and that’s something that Grant and Colin have really brought to the squad,” he said. “They have brought in a sense of fun and a sense of curiosity and if you mix that with the competitiveness and skills of people like Jeets you’ve got a great mix.

“Grant and Colin have been with us for a couple of weeks now and joined us up in Durham last week for a bit of training and a catch-up with the guys so we can be ahead of the game when the tournament starts. We’ve kept in touch throughout the winter and spoken about what went well last year and what could have been better.

“They were both brilliant for us last year, on and off the field. They have the perfect attitude, encouraging every player to free up and be fearless. That’s what T20 batting is all about while as a bowler you have only got 24 balls to make an impact on the game so it’s about managing your emotions and executing under pressure. Sometimes a long-hop will get hit straight to deep-square and get you a wicket and then a decent ball will go out of the park, but as long as you have got plans and variations you can give the batsman something to think about.”

Troughton believes the Bears will start their Blast campaign at Trent Bridge buoyed by their impressive white-ball cricket already this season. That they did not qualify from the Royal London Cup was heavily due to the vagaries of the weather as they alone in the group lost two games to rain – especially frustrating as they ended just one point short of qualification.

“We will take plenty from our RL50 campaign,” Troughton said. “We have improved a lot in that format and were unlucky not to qualify. As a player and a coach I have missed out on qualification at times and accepted it because we pretty much deserved it. Other times we qualified when we snuck in and got a little bit lucky. But this time I genuinely feel that we were in the top three best teams in the group, that’s why it was so disappointing not to qualify and the guys took it hard.

“We only lost two games in the group and were the only team to lost two to the weather which cost us the opportunity to get that extra win. It was a real shame but there was a lot of good stuff to take from the group.

“Now we start the Blast at Notts and they are a powerful side so it is an exciting start. We had a good experience there in the RL50 this season so it would be great to go up there in front of a big crowd and get the points.”

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