Report: Notts Outlaws v Bears, Vitality Blast
Birmingham Bears roared back to winning ways after posting the biggest total in Vitality Blast history to set up an exhilarating 55-run victory over Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.
The Bears totalled 261 for two thanks largely to an unbroken stand of 174 (a Bears Blast best) from 70 balls between Sam Hain and Adam Hose. Hain struck his maiden Blast century (112 from 52 balls with 12 fours and five sixes) while Hose thrashed 88 from 35 balls (three fours, ten sixes).
It was scintillating stuff from the Bears, though if any side in the country is equipped to tackle such a colossal chase it is the Outlaws with their power-packed batting line-up.
Led by Joe Clarke (86, 45 balls), they gave it a real go but Carlos Brathwaite took two huge wickets at vital times and Danny Briggs and Olly Stone each delivered a superb over as the pressure increased to squeeze Notts into submission. They finished on 206 all out.
Put in, the Bears were given a flying start by Rob Yates, called up for the unavailable Paul Stirling. Yates smashed 53, his maiden T20 half-century, from 29 balls, including 22 from one over. It was blistering stuff from the 22-year-old who scored at a strike-rate of 182.75, but proved to be just the starter for the main course as Hain and Hose charged along at a strike rate at over 200.
They displayed breath-taking batsmanship, albeit in perfect batting conditions, in the Nottingham sunshine. Hain raced to his fifty in 28 balls and Hose followed to his in 24 as fours and sixes rained.
Hain became the fifth Bears Blast century-maker (after Brendon McCullum, Ian Bell, Adam Hose and Paul Stirling) from 45 balls before Hose gave the innings a stunning climax with four sixes in the final over from Dan Christian.
It was a huge total but would still take some defending in such conditions against the Outlaws’ batting. Clarke took 25 from the second over to give them the required springboard but Alex Hales fell in the next when he lifted Stone to extra cover.
Ben Duckett (26, 13 balls) skied Brathwaite to third man and Clarke’s dangerous assault ended when he lifted the same bowler to long off where Stone took a calm catch.
The Bears’ catching was impressive, as illustrated in the 15th over, delivered by Briggs, when Hose and Stone hung on to big drives at long off to oust Tom Moores and Steven Mullaney from successive balls. That superb over, including two wickets and just four runs, left the Outlaws needing 89 from the last five overs.
Another fine catch, perfectly judged by Craig Miles, off Jake Lintott, did for Samit Patel and when Stone removed Calvin Harrion’s off-stump, and fired in a brace of dot balls, the Bears’ double over the Outlaws in this season’s Blast was sealed.
Next up for the Bears is Derbyshire Falcons at Edgbaston on Sunday, 2.30pm start.