Birmingham Bears Kiwi stars Colin De Grandhomme and Grant Elliott produced a fine display with the bat and ball respectively, to beat the Derbyshire Falcons by 20 runs, in an entertaining affair at Edgbaston to ignite their Natwest T20 Blast campaign.
Having been invited to bat, Birmingham got off to an excellent start in the powerplay overs at 49-0, with Ed Pollack, hitting two huge sixes off first Hardus Viljoen, before launching Derbyshire’s overseas Imran Tahir over the rope.
Debutant Pollack brought up his 50 off just 31 balls as the Bears threatened to cut loose bringing up the 100 partnership with fellow opener Sam Hain in the 12th over of the match.
The partnership was broken just two balls later as Wayne Madsen continued to take wickets in the competition, having Hain caught by Tahir at short third-man for 34. The wicket saw New Zealand International De Grandhomme promoted to number three in the order.
Pollack eventually fell to a smart catch by Matt Henry off Viljoen for an explosive 66 off 40 balls (5×4, 3×6) as the Falcons hoped to get a grip on the game and drag back the run-rate.
Overseas star De Grandhomme took on the role of enforcer, whilst new man at the crease Ian Bell (8) anchored proceedings, before the former England International was out thanks to a stunning one-handed catch from Henry at deep long-on.
That failed to slow down De Grandhomme however, who raced to his half-century off just 22 balls, finishing the innings in style along with Ireland captain William Porterfield, who was run out off the last ball for 20.
New Zealand star De Grandhomme finishing unbeaten on *65 (5×4, 5×6), with Birmingham Bears hitting 197-4 off their 20 overs.
The Falcons reply began with the early loss of skipper Billy Godleman (8) caught behind by Alex Mellor off Keith Barker, but Matt Critchley and Luis Reese went on a brief counter-attack for the Falcons.
Critchley’s bright innings was brought to an end on 17 when Barker’s low full toss was miscued to De Grandhomme at cover, to earn the left-arm seamer his second wicket of the afternoon, as Derbyshire at the end of the powerplay were ahead of the Bears on 59-2.
The leading run scorer in the Natwest T20 Blast this season, Wayne Madsen entered into the fray and began to build with Reese, as the Falcons floated around the required run-rate.
Wickets were the key component for both sides, and it was the Bears that continued to chip away as Patel bowled Reese (33), before Falcons captain Gary Wilson (2) was tamely caught at short third-man off Elliott as Birmingham turned the screw.
The loss of Madsen for 16, caught by Hain running in from deep cover off Elliott, dealt a huge blow to the Falcons, and it looked desperate once Alex Hughes went for 25, caught behind off the glove, again to Elliott.
With the run-rate increasing, the comical run out of Brodrick (14) by Hain effectively ended the Falcons chase and there was a fourth wicket for former New Zealand International Elliott, as his fellow countryman Henry (9) holed out at deep midwicket.
Barker got his third wicket of the game, bowling Viljoen (20) around his legs as the Falcons finished on 177-9, losing by 20 runs to dent their NatWest T20 Blast hopes.