Preview: Leicestershire Foxes v Birmingham Bears, NatWest T20 Blast 2017

First-team coach Jim Troughton has saluted the “fearless” batting of young opener Ed Pollock whose debut half-century triggered Birmingham Bears’ return to winning ways.

The Bears will travel to high-flying Leicestershire Foxes tomorrow in confident mood after Pollock’s explosive 66 (40 balls, five fours, three sixes) laid the platform for a 20-run win over Derbyshire Falcons yesterday.

"What pleased me most was the selflessness of the whole team. We made a few changes to the batting order and people just took it in their stride and did their jobs very well."

Jim Troughton

The Bears totalled a hefty 197 for four after Colin De Grandhomme smashed 65 from 28 balls with five fours and five sixes before his Black Caps team-mate Grant Elliott took four for 37 and Keith Barker added three for 33 to ensure the total was successfully defended.

The excellent victory included big contributions from some highly experienced players – but 22-year-old Pollock was the catalyst.

“We’ve been impressed by Ed for a while now and after the two T20s we played in Shropshire before the tournament we knew he was a proper option this year,” said Troughton.

“He came in and played fearless cricket which was brilliant to see and was exactly what we needed as a group.
“Colin then went in and played some extraordinary shots, most notably hitting that low full toss over extra cover for six – I don’t know how he did that! And then we defended the total really well.

“Derbyshire are a good T20 side with a lot of attacking batsmen but Grant bowled cleverly and Keith has come back into the T20 team with some really good performances.

“I think what pleased me most was the selflessness of the whole team. We made a few changes to the batting order and people just took it in their stride and did their jobs very well.

“It was a good win – but only one win. Now we go to Leicestershire Foxes, who have some very dangerous players, and have to do the same again.”

While Troughton’s team head for Leicester tomorrow, Bears supporters not making the trip to the Fischer County Ground have another attractive option close to home at the Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground.

Warwickshire 2nd XI for a three-day game against Northamptonshire will include Olly Stone, Chris Woakes, Jonathan Trott, Chris Wright and Tim Ambrose.

“It will be good for those guys to play some red-ball cricket because our next championship match is not too far away,” Troughton said.

“We have had to rethink Olly Stone’s return a little bit. It’s nothing serious but, after the T20 game he played, his calves were sore and we have to manage his situation carefully because he was out for so long. He only bowled four overs but they were very quick overs and it was high-octane stuff, so we’ve got to be patient.”

Birmingham Bears Squad

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