NatWest T20 Blast 2017
Fri 25 August, 19:00

The Kia Oval, London

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Report: Surrey v Birmingham Bears, NatWest T20 Blast 2017

Birmingham Bears reached NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day for the third time in four years after a superb run chase against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Skipper Grant Elliott and fellow New Zealander Colin de Grandhomme steered them to a six-wicket victory by adding 64 off 38 balls as they chased down a target of 205 with four balls to spare to stun the majority of a 12,473 crowd.

There was controversy when substitute fielder Rory Burns, running in from the mid-wicket boundary, claimed he had caught Elliott on 46 as he dived forward but third umpire Jeremy Lloyds decided that the ball had been grounded after closely examining TV replays.

Elliott, who previously made eight T20 appearances for Surrey earlier in his career, celebrated by making only his eighth half-century in the format. His 59 from 37 balls included five fours and three sixes while De Grandhomme offered him excellent support with 39 off 22, finishing the game with a six over mid-wicket and his fifth boundary off consecutive deliveries from Rikki Clarke, who took two wickets against his former county but also conceded 56 runs.

Burns had earlier dropped Adam Hose on one and the former Somerset man made him pay with 36 from 15 balls while Sam Hain (29 off 20) and Ed Pollock (24 off 10) made handy contributions to help Bears stay up with a required rate of more than ten runs an over.

The Bears will fancy their chances of repeating their 2014 success on their home ground at Edgbaston on September 2.

Earlier, Jason Roy’s 74 off 38 balls and meaty hitting from Australian pair Moises Henriques (48) and Aaron Finch (39) had propelled Surrey to a total of 204 for 5, the second time they have posted more than 200 in this season’s competition.

Surrey were once again indebted to openers Roy and Finch. They had already put together two century stands in this season’s Blast and this time added 98 from 55 balls. Finch had to bat with a runner after pulling a calf muscle in the second over but it didn’t inhibit him too much as struck five fours and two sixes before holing out to long on.

They scored 75 in the powerplay with Roy unleashing some massive hits, with one of his four sixes landing on the balcony of the OCS Stand. He also struck seven boundaries before Jeetan Patel, whose first over went for 17, returned to have him lbw playing across the line.

Surrey had 112 on the board at the halfway stage but could only add a further 71 in the next nine overs as Birmingham’s bowlers found some control. The last over cost 21 runs but the visitors then paced their chase to perfection.

Preview: Surrey v Birmingham Bears, NatWest T20 Blast Quarter Final 2017

Birmingham Bears captain Grant Elliott is happy to be leading a team with “lots of match-winners” into the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final against Surrey at the Kia Oval tomorrow.

Elliott, who took over the reins after Ian Bell stepped down as captain, is no stranger to big-games at The Oval, having played in many over the years, including five T20s for Surrey in 2009.

We have had a lot of changes in our team during the competition and have adapted well with a lot of different players contributing.

Grant Elliott

He has played at the very top in white-ball. Just two years ago he was in the New Zealand side, top-scoring with 83, which lost to Australia in the ICC World Cup final under the Melbourne floodlights.

Now he has T20 glory in his sights and, while acknowledging the strength of Surrey’s powerful side, the 38-year-old is confident in the abilities of the largely youthful team he leads.

“We have a very exciting group of players with lots of match-winners,” Elliott said.”And everyone in the squad has played a part in this T20 campaign so it’s a very exciting position to be in going into the quarter-finals. Hopefully we can come out on top.

“We have had a lot of changes in our team during the competition and have adapted well with a lot of different players contributing. In T20, two guys can take the game away from the opposition so hopefully those two guys will be on our side on Friday.

“A game in London on a Friday night is always good so it will be a great atmosphere and it would be nice to get a win down there. Surrey are a strong team but we will put our plans together and hopefully we can put a perfect performance together because I don’t think we have done that yet. As a team I don’t think we have been as consistent as we would want to be.

“I have really enjoyed being captain. I didn’t expect it, but it’s just been a case of continuing with what we have been doing and trying to be as consistent as we can.”

The Bears are striving to reach their third Finals Day in four years with, of course, the added incentive of featuring in the great showpiece on their own home ground at Edgbaston.

“I don’t know what’s better at Finals Day, to play in the middle or be out in the crowd because it is an awesome day,” said Elliott. “To be in the home team at Edgbaston on Finals Day would be amazing but we have got to block out all thoughts of that tomorrow and just concentrate on the quarter-final.”

Birmingham Bears Squad

  • Grant Elliott (Captain)
  • Tim Ambrose (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Ian Bell
  • Colin de Grandhomme
  • Sam Hain
  • Oliver Hannon-Dalby
  • Adam Hose
  • Ateeq Javid
  • Alex Mellor (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Ed Pollock
  • William Porterfield
  • Josh Poysden
  • Boyd Rankin
  • Dom Sibley
  • Olly Stone
  • Aaron Thomason
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