Jacob Bethell held his nerve under pressure in the final over to guide Birmingham Bears to a two-wicket victory over Durham in a thriller at Seat Unique Riverside, keeping the visitors on top of the Vitality Blast North Group.

Bears were miserly with the ball after winning the toss. Hassan Ali was excellent at the top of the order and collected figures of 2-15 from his four overs, while Danny Briggs also claimed two strikes. Ollie Robinson and Ashton Turner notched fifties, but Durham’s total of 146 for five looked short of par at the interval.

Alex Davies and Rob Yates led an explosive start to the Bears’ chase, sharing an opening stand of 80 to put the visitors ahead of the rate. But, Nathan Sowter continued his impressive campaign with two wickets to halt the Birmingham charge. Ben Raine then set nerves jangling with two in two in the 17th over and he performed heroics again with the same feat in the 19th.

The game turned again when Bethell held his composure from the final over to smash a six and a four in back-to-back balls to steer Birmingham over the one with three balls to spare, edging them closer to a quarter-final berth.