Leicestershire Foxes  put a brake on Birmingham Bears’ NatWestT20Blast hot streak with a comfortable seven-wicket win at Edgbaston.

The Bears were hunting their fifth successive win in the North Group and posted a solid total of 160 for five thanks mainly to Tim Ambrose’s third T20 half-century, a well-judged unbeaten 66 from 54 balls with seven fours and a six.

But the Foxes bounced back from the previous night’s defeat at Derby to reach 164 for seven with nine balls to spare.

Mark Cosgrove laid the platform with a blistering 44 from 23 balls and then Niall O’Brien (40 from 38) and Umar Akmal (52 from 38 with five fours and a six) saw them home with an unbroken stand of 93 in 70 balls.

After Birmingham chose to bat, the Foxes struck two big blows early. Varun Chopra lifted Olly Freckingham to cover and Ian Bell’s blistering form in this season’s tournament (128 from 89 balls in two innings) was ended by a brilliant catch by Tom Wells. Bell was looking dangerous again on 19 from 13 balls and hit Clint McKay’s first two balls for four but then drove the next to mid-off where Wells flung himself to his right to make the catch.

That was the Foxes’ last success for a while as William Porterfield and Ambrose built the innings’ only partnership of substance. They added 80 from 58 balls before the former (40 from 27 balls, five fours and a six) fell to another fine catch by Wells, this time at long off.

Laurie Evans scratched around for 13 and is hot favourite to drop out next week to make way when Brendon McCullum makes his debut. But Ambrose kept working the ball around skilfully, though young left-arm spinner Jamie Sykes distinguished himself with four tight overs for just 23.

Leicestershire got off to a flier, reaching 50 in the fourth as Cosgrove fed voraciously on some overpitched bowling. The Australian raced to 44 from with seven fours, one six before falling lbw to Jeetan Patel’s fifth delivery.

That was 71 for three and the Bears sensed an opportunity to start a collapse but O’Brien and Akmal played it perfectly. Under no pressure to go for big shots they milked the bowling as the Foxes won at a canter, Akmal notching a half-century on his farewell appearance as stand-in overseas player for Kiwi star Grant Elliott who will return next week.