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Dom Sibley fired 128 off 114 balls to help Warwickshire start 2019 with a win in the Bears opening pre-season fixture in Abu Dhabi.

Warwickshire started their 2019 season preparations with an emphatic six-wicket victory (D/L) over Somerset in Abu Dhabi.

Played in the shadow of the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, the Bears were led by Captain Dom Sibley, who produced a fantastic innings of 128 off 114 (18 fours, 1 six), to help reach the amended Duckworth-Lewis score of 247 off 43 overs with three overs to spare.

Forcasted rain arrived as promised with both sides kept on their toes with regular breaks, but the Bears held their nerve with bat and ball as George Panayi produced three wickets to help restrict Somerset to 274 all out, whilst Will Rhodes (47*) and Liam Banks (28*) provided the perfect support cast to Sibley’s excellent knock.

After a short delay, Warwickshire won the toss and chose to field despite no previous team on the tour chasing a target.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby struck first, removing Peter Trego for 12, before Steven Davies was dismissed for 48 off 54 balls by Cardiff MCCU leg-spinner Sam Pearce, who only found out he was on the tour a week before departing.

James Hildreth, bowled by Panayi for 0, and George Bartlett (22) followed soon after leaving the Taunton side on 102 for four.

A fantastic 97 run partnership between Tom Abell and Eddie Byrom steered Somerset back into the game, but Alex Thomson started a procession of wickets.

Byrom (56 off 55) was next to go as he was caught by Hain with Gregory joining him 19 minutes later, trapped LBW by the Staffordshire spinner.

Abell had reached 65 but once he departed leaving Somerset on 241 for seven, the Bears were eyeing up a below par score.

Panayi, got his final wicket, removing former Bear Tim Groenewald for 5, whilst Rhodes and Hannon-Dalby dismissed Jack Brooks and Joe Leach respectively to set Warwickshire 275 to win.

Warwickshire’s chase took a bump in the road as Pollock and Hain were both bowled, leaving the Bears on 26 for two.

Adam Hose was next in and a 63 run partnership with the freely hitting Sibley brought the scores closer together.

Hose was eventually caught by Davies for 24 with Rhodes joining the crease confident following his excellent bowling figures of 10-0-48-2.

The County Championship opening pair pushed through the gears in difficult conditions adding 64 runs before a length shower forced the chase to 247.

The Bears, currently on 155 for three after 28.1 overs, would need 92 off 89 balls with light dimming and the wind blowing.

But the pair continued, adding another 57, before Sibley was bowled by Abell for an impressive opening season score of 128.

Banks was next in with Warwickshire on 212 for four, needing a further 35 runs off 48 balls, and there would be no drama.

The Staffordshire right hander struck 28 (four fours) alongside Rhodes’ 47 (four fours, 1 six) to secure a deserved victory.