Blast Report: Outlaws v Bears
A brilliant batting display powered Birmingham Bears to their first Vitality Blast win of 2021, by 18 runs over Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.
The Bears overcame the reigning champions in their own back yard after piling up 229 for five, their third-highest ever T20 score and the highest by any side at Trent Bridge.
Ed Pollock launched the innings with an explosive 62 (34 balls, six fours, three sixes), Sam Hain kept up the tempo with a skilful unbeaten 53 (28 balls, two fours, fours sixes) and Carlos Braithwaite rounded it off with a violent 44 (18 balls, three fours, four sixes).
The powerful Notts batting order was then pegged back with the regular loss of wickets as they replied with 211 for nine, Brathwaite and Jake Lintott taking two important wickets apiece.
The Bears will travel to Derby to face Derbyshire on Sunday (2.30pm) with their Blast campaign very much up and running.
Put in, the Bears were given a flying start by an opening stand of 51 in 27 balls from Pollock and Adam Hose. Hose blasted 32 from 17 balls and raised the fifty by hitting Luke Fletcher out of the ground before falling lbw later in the over.
Will Rhodes and Pollock maintained the momentum with a stand of 69 from 37 balls. Pollock reached his half-century by lifting his 28th ball, from Peter Trego, over square leg for six. It was his fifth Blast half-century and included his 50th six in T20 cricket.
Rhodes’ departure, caught at deep mid-wicket, triggered a wobble as spinner Matt Carter dismissed Pollock and Dan Mousley in successive overs, but Hain and Brathwaite launched a blistering salvo.
Hain started it with a couple of sweetly caressed sixes. Brathwaite then took over with four violently clubbed ones, three arriving in the 19th over, from Trego, which went for 33. Hain remained unbeaten on 53, leaving his Blast batting average at Trent Bridge at 301.
It was a mighty total, but Notts have plenty of batters capable of reeling it in so the Bears needed to strike early. They did, when Alex Hales fell first ball, brilliantly caught by Rhodes at mid-wicket, to give Danny Briggs his 200th T20 wicket. When Brathwaite and Tim Bresnan each struck with their first ball to remove Joe Clarke and Trego, the Outlaws were forty for three.
Ben Duckett charged to 51 (27 balls) before Jake Lintott came on and struck with his first ball, which Duckett top-edged to short fine leg. Rhodes then failed to strike with his first ball, but did with his fifth, taking a sharp return catch to dismiss the dangerous Steven Mullaney.
The Bears kept on taking wickets at important times. Another danger man Tom Moores moved to 38 from 21 balls but perished when he sliced Brathwaite to short third man. Another fell when Samit Patel top-edged Lintott to the same position.
That left The Outlaws’ lower order needing to find 63 from the last four overs, a challenge which was far beyond them as the Bears closed the game out clinically.