The Bears were edged out in a last ball defeat to 2016 NatWest T20 Blast champions Northants Steelbacks. After the match Birmingham Bears captain Ian Bell said, “It was another great game and we were on the right end of one the other day but not today. We weren’t quite at our best today. We were probably 20 short with the bat. At one time we were looking at probably 180-plus but that wasn’t to be.

It was another great game and we were on the right end of one the other day but not today

Ian Bell

“It didn’t help us to be a bowler down, a guy who regularly bowls four overs for us, but I was delighted with the way we scrapped with Aaron Thomason and all the guys chipping in. We did well to take it right to the last ball and the beauty of T20 is there’s usually a chance to bounce straight back and that’s what we’ll be looking to do against Leicestershire Foxes on Sunday.”

Speaking post match Northants batsman Rob Keogh reflected on a hard fought game and said,”It’s never nice to take it that deep, all the way to the last ball, but it is nice to get a win especially against a side like Birmingham.At one stage it looked like they were going to get a big score. They got off to a flier but I thought our spinners pulled it back brilliantly. Shamsi was top-drawer and then Sando at the death executing his skills was brilliant. We kept it to a respectable score and luckily we got over the line in the last over.

“Sam Hain and Ian Bell are excellent batsmen and were going well so to get those two out and then get a squeeze on was great and made the score a little bit more chaseable. We played it sensibly. We didn’t give them much and then we targeted our bowlers.”