Vitality Blast
Tue 15 June, 18:30

The County Ground, Northampton

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Northamptonshire Steelbacks

Northamptonshire Steelbacks

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Northamptonshire Steelbacks


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Blast Report: Steelbacks v Bears

Jake Lintott, Sam Hain and Pieter Malan took the starring roles as Birmingham Bears made it three Vitality Blast wins on the bounce with a 55-run victory over Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Northampton.

The Bears will face Leicestershire Foxes at the Upton Steel County Ground tonight full of momentum after beating a Steelbacks side which did the double over them in each of the previous two seasons.

Batting first, the Bears totalled 170 for three thanks to Malan’s first T20 half-century for the club (63, 45 balls, four fours three sixes) and Hain’s typically classy unbeaten 69 (42 balls, seven fours, one six).

It was a solid rather than imposing total on a good batting pitch and a fast outfield, but proved more than enough after a brilliant bowling performance.

The Steelbacks plummeted from 65 for two to 115 all out as Lintott took a career-best four for 20, Craig Miles two for 28 and Carlos Brathwaite two for 19 while Danny Briggs and Dan Mousley added took important wickets. 

After choosing to bat, the Bears lost Ed Pollock first ball when he chopped Graeme White to backward point. When Will Rhodes lapped to short fine leg in the sixth over, it was 34 for two but Malan and Hain first shored up the innings then climbed into some glorious strokeplay in a partnership of 90 from 51 balls.

A sign of what was to come came from the 11th ball of the match, from Ben Sanderson, which Malan hoisted over long on for six. As the third-wicket pair accelerated, the tenth over went for 20 and the South African reached his half-century from 37 balls. He posted it with a six, flicked over mid-wicket off Tom Taylor, and repeated the shot next ball.

Malan finally fell in pursuit of another six when he skied Sanderson to the wicketkeeper, after which the Steelbacks bowlers did well to prevent a late charge from the Bears. Hain continued to work the round sweetly but, while Brathwaite middled plenty, he invariably found fielders and ended unbeaten on 19 from 19 balls.

Briggs took just five balls to damage the Steelbacks’ reply when Adam Rosssington chipped to Brathwaite at extra cover. The West Indian then took the ball for the fourth over and removed the dangerous Richard Levi, smartly caught by a diving Hain, inches from the ground at deep mid-wicket.

Ricardo Vasconcelos moved dangerously to 36 (27 balls) and the Steelbacks were advancing smoothly at 65 for two in the ninth over but were then rocked by the loss of three wickets for one run in five balls from the spinners.

Lintott struck twice in three balls, bowling Vasconcelos and Rob Keogh, before Mousley’s first ball bamboozled Saif Zaib to win an lbw decision.

The slide continued when Parnell lifted Lintott to at Malan at deep square leg. When Miles knocked out Taylor’s leg stump it was five wickets for ten runs in 21 balls.

Miles also castled Charlie Thurston then retreated to deep square leg to take the catch, from White, which gave Lintott his first T20 four-for. Nathan Buck cheered the home with a few clean hits in a lost cause before Sanderson hoisted Brathwaite to mid off when Rhodes took a fine tumbling catch to seal another fine win.

Bears Blast Best: Northants Steelbacks

There’s been some fantastic clashes between the Bears and the Steelbacks over the years. Here’s our best performances.

Best Innings 131

Ian Bell (Edgbaston 2018) 

Chasing a hefty 231, the Bears were in trouble at 23 for two after 17 balls when skipper Ian Bell was joined at the crease by Adam Hose.  

What followed, few of the big, boisterous Edgbaston crowd will forget in a hurry. 

Bell and Hose put on a T20 world record third-wicket stand of 171 in 14.1 overs. It was a stunning display of power-hitting and strokeplay which showed that there is plenty of room for high class batsmanship in the format.  

Hose fell for 64 (39 balls) but Bell advanced to a dazzling century, his first in T20. The Bears legend ended up with a brilliant 131 from 62 balls with 11 fours and seven sixes in a classic match which ended in a tie. 

Best Bowling 1/8

Rikki Clarke (Edgbaston 2014) 

On a humid June evening, Bears captain Varun Chopra won the toss and chose to field. As always, he threw the ball to Rikki Clarke to open the attack.  

An hour later, the former England all-rounder had delivered his four overs for just eight runs, a stint which remains the most economical ever in the Blast for the Bears. 

Bowling with customary back-of-a-length accuracy and discipline. Clarke also claimed the wicket of Richard Keogh, caught by Chopra. As Chris Wright took two wickets at the other end, the Steelbacks were in a straitjacket from the start.  

From 18 for the three in the fifth over, they only partially recovered to 133 for seven and the Bears cruised to an eight-wicket victory with four overs to spare. Chopra struck an unbeaten 68, Will Porterfield 42 and Shoaib Malik an unbeaten 21 but it was Clarke’s immaculate bowling that sowed the seeds of the victory. 

Blast Preview: Steelbacks v Bears

Birmingham Bears visit Northamptonshire Steelbacks tomorrow (6.30pm) at the start of what captain Will Rhodes describes as a “huge” double-header in 24 hours.

Fuelled by momentum from excellent wins in Nottingham and Derby, the Bears continue their East Midlands tour with games at Northampton tomorrow (6.30pm) and Leicestershire Foxes (6.45pm) on Wednesday.

Then at last will come the first home game, against Lancashire Lightning on Friday (6.30pm), into which the Bears will take some serious momentum if they maintain the fine form of the last two outings.

“Games come thick and fast in the Blast and if you can get some wins, particularly on the road, you become a very dangerous team,” said Rhodes. “Two wins from three is a good start and now we have two more games back-to-back and we know they are huge for us.

“With two wins already, a good couple of days now and we would be flying  when we get back to Edgbaston for our first home game on Friday.”

Chris Woakes is again available tomorrow after returning to the side at Derby on Sunday and contributing vital runs and wickets. It was a late salvo of boundaries from Woakes and Carlos Brathwaite which ultimately settled a tight match in the Bears’ favour.

“We chased it down beautifully in the end,” said Rhodes. “It was a tight game on a good wicket and quite a big field in comparison to the previous two games so we had to adapt. Dan Mousley played it really nicely, supported by Sam Hain and Michael Burgess, and then our two big guys saw us home.

“I don’t think many teams can say that at numbers seven and eight they have got two people who have played in and won respective World Cup finals. To have that experience down the order is fantastic and they got us over the line.”

Adam Hose and Henry Brookes remain sidelined by hamstring and thigh injuries respectively while Rob Yates is still ruled out by illness. Olly Stone is unavailable due to England duty but is expected to return against the Lancashire at Edgbaston on Friday.


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, Chris Woakes

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

Blast Insight: Northants Steelbacks

We take a closer look at the Steelbacks ahead of our Blast clash at Wantage Road.

Coach: David Ripley

Captain: Josh Cobb

Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists

2020 Leading Runscorer: Paul Stirling (232 @ 25.77)

2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Ben Sanderson (12 @ 22.25)

Overseas players: Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Wayne Parnell (South Africa)

Key man: Richard Levi – Without Paul Stirling at the top of the order, extra responsibility will fall on the broad, experienced shoulders of big-hitting Levi to lay strong foundations in the powerplay.

Flies under the radar: Graeme White – Along with his consistent spin bowling, White also contributes valuable runs – evidenced by a 12-ball 37 not out against Birmingham to seal the Steelbacks’ quarter-final place last year.

Best Player Under 24: Saif Zaib – Having nailed down a regular place in Northants’ T20 side last season, the all-rounder will be aiming to build on glimpses of promise with both bat and ball.

Blast expectations: Despite featuring in three finals between 2013 and 2016, Northamptonshire have struggled in the tournament since the last of those, their second Blast success. The Steelbacks peaked early in 2020, winning four of their first five group matches before losing four on the trot and eventually scraping into to the quarter-finals.

But, although Alex Wakely – who captained Northants to both of those Blast victories – has retired, there is still plenty of experience within the squad at Wantage Road. Wayne Parnell, a Blast winner with Worcestershire Rapids in 2018, brings further depth to a capable seam attack led by Ben Sanderson, while off-spinner Mohammad Nabi also looks an astute overseas signing.

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