Bears lose out to Outlaws in Blast Final

Birmingham Bears’ superb NatWestT20Blast campaign culminated in the runners-up spot after they lost out to Notts Outlaws by 22 runs in the final at Edgbaston.

After beating Glamorgan by 11 runs in the first semi-final this morning, the Bears faced the Outlaws who had overcome Hampshire to make it an all North Group final.

Put in, Notts totalled a meaty 190 for four. At first pegged back by a burst of three wickets in nine balls from Chris Woakes, they recovered powerfully with a stand of 132 in 80 balls by Samit Patel (64 from 42 balls) and Brendan Taylor (65, 49). Dan Christian then came out swinging to take 23 from the final over and give the Bears plenty to do.

The chase was made more difficult by the loss of early wickets and, despite Sam Hain’s excellent 72 (44 balls), the Bears fell short at 168 for eight.

To the Outlaws, then, went the trophy but a compelling final rounded off another great Finals Day at Edgbaston, the first to generate over 1,000 runs, and thoroughly enjoyed by a record Finals Day crowd of over 24,000.

After Birmingham chose to bowl, Woakes struck twice in his first over, the third of the innings, clipping Alex Hales’ bails then deceiving Tom Moores with a slower ball which the batsman lifted to Dom Sibley at mid-wicket. It was three in nine for the England all-rounder when Rikki Wessels feathered a sweep down the leg-side and Tim Ambrose took a fine catch.

That was 30 for three but Taylor and Patel are immensely-experienced cricketers (a combined 829 senior games in white-ball cricket) and showed all their quality in a combative stand which ended when Taylor fell to a fine catch by Dom Sibley right on the rope at long off.

A thumping cameo of 24 in eight balls Dan Christian left the Bears with a challenging target.The Bears lost openers Sibley, yorked by Harry Gurner and Ed Pollock, run out by Patel’s direct hit, with just 16 on the board. When Adam Hose missed an attempt to cut Jake Ball, it was 36 for three.

Successive straight sixes from Sam Hain into the pavilion got the Bears moving but Elliott fell lbw to Christian and Birmingham reached the halfway stage at 72 for four, needing 119 from ten overs.

Colin de Grandhomme (27, 19 balls) offered Hain good support but was bowled by Gurney and, with Hain clearly hampered by a leg injury, the required run-rate escalated. After Hain was caught at mid-off the Outlaws closed out victory in efficient fashion despite resistance from Aaron Thomason (26, 13 balls).