Report: Yorkshire Vikings v Birmingham Bears, NatWest T20 Blast 2017
David Willey walloped 70 off 38 balls and claimed a wicket as Yorkshire eased past Birmingham Bears by 29 runs at Headingley to secure their second NatWest T20 Blast win in five matches.
The Bears, replying to 179 for five, crumbled to 58 for six in the eighth over amidst a number of miscued shots.
Captain Tim Bresnan (three for 21 from three) struck twice in his first two overs and England limited overs all-rounder Willey once as the score fell to 31 for three in the fifth.
Two more wickets fell in Adil Rashid’s first over, the seventh, including a run out.
Seventh-wicket pair Keith Barker and Aaron Thomason revived things and have the Bears a glimmer with a 64-run stand, but Azeem Rafiq removed them both in the 16th over on the way to 150 all out in 18 overs.
This was the ideal start to Yorkshire’s run of three successive home matches, including Worcestershire on Sunday and Durham on Wednesday.
They had previously claimed four points from their first four matches.
The Vikings raced out of the blocks as Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Willey all hit sixes in the power play, which yielded 62 runs for the loss of the former two batsmen.
Lyth hoisted the sixth ball of the match from Barker over long-on before finding cover off Boyd Rankin to fall two balls into the second.
Kohler-Cadmore pulled Rankin over mid-wicket for back-to-back sixes in the fifth over to move to 27 before edging the next ball behind.
Willey continued the assault, taking 20 of 21 off former Yorkshire seamer Oliver Hannon-Dalby in the sixth over, including a huge pull over backward square-leg which cleared the White Rose Stand and went out of the ground.
Ten of Yorkshire’s 12 sixes came in the first 9.3 overs of their innings on a good Headingley pitch, with Willey reaching 50 off 27 balls.
He shared 83 in 8.1 overs for the third wicket with measured Shaun Marsh (30 off 31) before being run out coming back for two to long-leg off a free hit.
That left Yorkshire at 124 for three in the 13th, but the hosts were unable to maintain the momentum.
Birmingham bowled much better in the second half of the innings, with Barker and New Zealand overseas seamer Colin de Grandhomme impressive without taking a wicket.
Barker conceded only four off the penultimate over of the innings, with Rankin finishing with three for 39 from his four.
Bresnan struck twice in his first two overs to get rid of Sam Hain and Ian Bell for six apiece, caught and bowled and caught at mid-on, as the Bears fell to 19 for two in the fourth over.
Willey then had Tim Ambrose caught at mid-wicket in the fifth over before Rashid trapped Grant Elliott lbw with his third ball in the sixth over and Will Porterfield was run out next ball.
When de Grandhomme slapped Rafiq into the deep in the next over, Birmingham’s chances of a third win were all but gone.
Barker hit 35 and Thomason 31 to give Yorkshire something to think about before falling in the space of three balls in the 16th to Rafiq, caught at wide long-on and stumped. Rafiq claimed three for 37 from four.
Birmingham, who host Derbyshire at Edgbaston on Sunday, lost their last four wickets for 28.