Next up in our Greatest Ever series, thank you to everyone who has cast their vote in the series so far, we return to the modern era with the vote for the Greatest Bears T20 Game.
Since the T20 format arrived in county cricket in 2003, the Bears have been involved in some absolute classics. Great games featuring great players and great characters, all adding up to memorable, ‘I was there’ occasions for players and spectators alike.
Which of these five Bears Blast classics will get your vote?
June 28, 2009 – Bears v Somerset at Edgbaston
Beat Somerset by 1 run
Somerset arrived at Edgbaston with one of the strongest batting line-ups in Blast history but were torpedoed by a Jeetan Patel masterclass.
Put in, the Bears totalled 193 for six thanks to Jim Troughton (62, 41 balls) and Rikki Clarke (51, 32). Somerset then got off to a flier as Marcus Trescothick and Justin Langer smashed 55 from 25 balls. Clarke broke through by removing Langer and a clever change of pace from Stef Piolet did for Trescothick but still there was a power-packed middle order; Zander de Bruyn, James Hildreth, Craig Kieswetter.
Any of those could win a match single-handed but Bears skipper Ian Westwood threw the ball to Patel and the maestro spun his web around the big hitters. He trapped De Bruyn and Hildreth lbw and took a stinging return catch to remove Kieswetter on his way to figures of 4-0-23-3, a truly remarkable analysis against a mighty batting team on a great batting wicket.
August 2, 2014 – Bears v Essex Quarter-Final at Chelmsford
Beat Essex Eagles by 19 runs
Essex regarded their Chelmsford home as a fortress but the brilliant Bears plundered victory to set up Finals Day glory three weeks later.
The home supporters were full of expectations and noise, but it was the Bears fans singing at halfway after their side piled up 197 for two.
Will Porterfield’s rapid 32 laid a platform which was built upon by former Essex batsman Varun Chopra (86 not out, 54 balls) and Rikki Clarke (70 not out, 37 balls). They struck 14 fours and six sixes in a superb unbroken stand of 134 in 11 overs.
The target was then protected by excellent bowling as a unit, supported by tigerish fielding. Recordo Gordon quickly removed big threat Jesse Ryder, Jeetan Patel tightened the screw with 4-0-23-0 and Boyd Rankin regularly checked Essex’s momentum by taking wickets – 4-0-34-3.
The Bears closed the game out perfectly – their momentum would take them all the way to the Blast trophy.
June 26, 2015 – Bears v Lancashire at Old Trafford
Beat Lancashire Lighting by 1 run
As match preparation goes, sitting in stationary traffic on the M6 is not ideal but that’s what awaited the Bears on a midsummer Sunday in 2015. As players inched up the motorway, for those who had made it to Old Trafford, the feeling was more familiar to a village team: Would the rest of the lads make it for the start?
They did, just, and made light of the chaos to record a thrilling victory.
On a typically slow Old Trafford pitch, Brendon McCullum’s debut knock brought 18 before Varun Chopra (40) and Will Porterfield (36) batted skilfully to lift the Bears to 137 for eight.
An enthralling match ensued as the Lightning’s pursuit remained in the balance. At no point was either side clear favourites as Josh Poysden applied a brake with 4-0-24-0 and Recordo Gordon bowled beautifully for 4-0-20-4. Excellent fielding maintained the pressure and when Liam Livingstone was run out by Ateeq Javid off the last ball, the Bears ended a crazy day with a memorable win.
August 15, 2017 – Bears v Surrey Quarter-Final at The Oval
Beat Surrey by 6 wickets
Surrey were hell-bent on revenge for their semi-final defeat three years earlier but a big, noisy Bears following travelled on a Friday evening to see if their boys could again rise to the occasion.
They did. What a night!
On a great batting pitch, Surrey galloped to 99 from nine overs. But Jeetan Patel’s dismissal of Jason Roy (74, 38 balls) halted the charge and Aaron Thomason delivered a nifty 3-0-26-2 to rein Surrey in. They ended up with 204, a challenging total, but the Bears were still right in the game.
Then came a perfect collective effort in pursuit. Ed Pollock’s ten-ball 24 provided impetus which was built on by Adam Hose (36, 15 balls) and Sam Hain (29, 29). At 143 for four, the Black Caps stars came together and Grant Elliott (59 , 37) and Colin de Grandhomme (39, 22) thrashed an unbroken 64 in 38 balls to see the Bears home with four balls to spare.
Most of The Oval was silenced…the rest was very noisy indeed.
July 20, 2018 – Bears v Northants at Edgbaston
Tied with Northants Steelbacks
After the Steelbacks piled up 231 for five, the Bears had to produce something special to get close. When they quickly lost Ed Pollock and Sam Hain, at 23 for two they needed something extra special. Ian Bell and Adam Hose delivered it with a glorious stand of 171 – a T20 third-wicket world record – in 85 balls.
They first shored up the innings, then accelerated to thrill the big Birmingham crowd with a blend of glorious strokes and clean hits. Hose struck 64 (39 balls) while Bell played one of the great T20 innings. His first T20 century came off 50 balls and he went on to 131 from 62 balls (11 fours, seven sixes).
After Colin de Grandhomme kept the ball rolling with two immediate sixes, the Bears needed ten from the last over for a remarkable win. Bell fell to the first ball and De Grandhomme to the fifth and a brilliant match ended all-square. Fair enough – nobody deserved to lose.
Cast your vote
To vote for the Bears’ Greatest T20 Game, simply complete the below form. Everyone who submits their vote will be entered into a prize draw to win a signed Warwickshire shirt.
Voting closes at 5pm on Tuesday 16 June and the winner will be announced on Wednesday.