Preview: Birmingham Bears v Yorkshire Vikings

Birmingham Bears will face Yorkshire Vikings at Edgbaston tomorrow buoyed by back-to-back NatWest T20 Blast wins – and starting to “throw some punches,” says first-team coach Jim Troughton.

The Bears’ North Group campaign is heading for a huge weekend with home games against fellow contenders Yorkshire Vikings tomorrow (7pm) and Lancashire Lightning on Sunday (2.30pm).

They will reconvene with the Vikings just seven days after losing to them at Headingley – a result which sparked a rethink in the Bears camp which has proved spectacularly effective as they responded with excellent wins over early group pace-setters Derbyshire Falcons and Leicestershire Foxes.

“Yorkshire Vikings beat us well last week, but tomorrow they will come up against a slightly different team with a different mindset,” said Troughton. “We have definitely freed ourselves up and thrown some punches in the last two games, so it’s going to be a really good game of cricket in front of another big crowd and we’re all looking forward to it.

"We have definitely freed ourselves up and thrown some punches in the last two games, so it’s going to be a really good game of cricket in front of another big crowd and we’re all looking forward to it."

Jim Troughton

“It can all change very quickly in T20, we know that having been on the wrong end of a couple of losses. We have turned it round with two wins against teams at the top of the table but Yorkshire are a good side so we know we will have to be right on our game again.”

As pleasing as anything for Troughton over the last two games is that so many different players have contributed to the wins.

“This is where the confidence is going to build,” he said. “It was good to post 180 again at Leicester. They showed the first time they played us they have some very dangerous players but to win by 30 runs was a good, solid win.

“Against Derbyshire we had Colin de Grandhomme and Ed Pollock getting fifties, then neither of them scored many at Leicester but Sam Hain and William Porterfield stepped up. Then when we were 140 for seven and needing some late impetus, Keith Barker and Alex Mellor played great cameos to get us to 180 and that momentum spilled over into their innings when we got straight into their dangerous top four.

“Aaron Thomason got three big wickets in Mark Cosgrove, Luke Ronchi and Mark Pettini which is really good for him. Aaron is a guy who is never going to shy away from bowling at any time but he hasn’t quite got in the game with the ball so far in the T20 but certainly did on Tuesday. That should give him a lot of confidence going forward.

“Aaron bowling his four so well meant that Colin only needed to bowl one over but it was a really good one to keep the pressure on. Grant Elliott has been phenomenal with the ball in the last two games and Jeets is just Jeets isn’t he?

“It was a really good performance with the ball, supported by some great catches, and just showed that when we post totals around the 180 mark we are going to be hard to beat.”

Birmingham Bears Squad

  • Ian Bell (Captain)
  • Keith Barker
  • Colin de Grandhomme
  • Grant Elliott
  • Sam Hain
  • Oliver Hannon-Dalby
  • Adam Hose
  • Ateeq Javid
  • Alex Mellor (Wicket-Keeper)
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Ed Pollock
  • William Porterfield
  • Josh Poysden
  • Boyd Rankin
  • Aaron Thomason