Vitality Blast
Sat 1 June, 18:30

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Notts Outlaws

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Report: Bears v Outlaws, Vitality Blast

Buoyant Bears made it two wins from two in the Vitality Blast after beating Notts Outlaws by 22 runs in front of a 13,784, including a man dress as a carrot, at Edgbaston.

Having trounced Durham in their opening game the previous evening, the Bears chose to bat but were bowled out for 149 in 19.3 overs. Rob Yates struck a majestic 68 from 48 balls but nobody else passed 16 as Olly Stone took three for 30 and Luke Fletcher harvested an excellent 4-0-20-2.

The Outlaws then charged to 54 without loss in 35 balls but collapsed to 127 all out against a vastly experienced Bears attack led by Dan Mousley (three for 22), Hasan Ali (two for 22), Danny Briggs (two for 26) and Jake Lintott (two for 29).

Heavily beaten by Northants Steelbacks in their first game, The Outlaws have more wounds to lick ahead of next Thursday’s home game with Worcestershire Rapids.

It was Yates who delivered the match-winning contribution. He lifted his first ball for six and batted regally despite losing partners regularly.

Alex Davies and Chris Benjamin flailed briefly, each clearing the ropes with one hit then finding a fielder with another as Tom Moores and Calvin Harrison took smart catches. Sam Hain went to the crease with a Blast average of 97.28 against The Outlaws but managed only 16 before chipping a return catch to Matt Montgomery. Mousley drove Lyndon James low to cover. 

Jake Bethell skied Olly Stone to mid off. George Garton’s first runs for the Bears were a reverse-lapped six but he added just another single before edging a huge drive at Stone.

Among all the frantic bit parts, Yates took centre stage with a measured 37-ball 50 which grew to 68 before he was slickly caught by a diving Jack Haynes at fine leg off Fletcher. The last three wickets – two run outs and an lbw from a failed reverse-sweep – summed up a bitty batting effort.

The Outlaws’ bowlers had earned their batters the luxury of easing through the powerplay without risk and Joe Clarke and Alex Hales exploited the situation to add 50 in the first five overs. Notts were in total command but the departure of Clarke (28, 18), who lifted Mousley to extra cover, reversed the flow of the match. Four wickets fell in 21 balls as Haynes drove a return catch to Briggs, Will Young missed a cut at the spinner and was bowled and Hales (32, 26) hoisted Lintott to long off.

A flash of fielding brilliance followed when Bethell took an exceptional diving catch in the extra cover boundary to oust Moores. From 54 without loss and comfortable, the Outlaws were 95 for five and. much to the delight of the man dressed as a carrot. under serious pressure.

Montgomery (33, 31) offered some resistance but when he edged a reverse sweep at Hasan Ali, the collapsed turned terminal. The Outlaws’ tail needed to find 26 from the last two overs and didn’t come close. The last word fittingly fell to Yates who took a superb catch at extra cover to bring the crowd, including the man dressed as a carrot, to its feet.

Bears bowler Danny Briggs said: “It was a different win to yesterday. In a way it was more satisfying because last night we blew them away. Tonight we were a bit short with the bat and it was a lot more of a challenge.

“We tried to get a competitive score but felt we were a little bit under par going into the second half but the bowling group is really strong. There is a lot of belief there and once you start taking wickets that belief goes up.

“Our fielding was outstanding tonight and has been awesome both nights actually, especially the catching and that goes a long way. Defending a low score, you need everything to come off and it did tonight.

“I really enjoyed the occasion. It’s always great to play under the lights at Edgbaston in front of a big crowd. We love playing here and it’s always entertaining whether it’s a high-scoring or a low-scoring game.”

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