A sensational debut innings from Adam Hose lifted Birmingham Bears to a five-wicket NatWest T20 Blast victory over Lancashire Lightning at Edgbaston.
The Lightning amassed 174 for eight thanks mainly to Jos Buttler whose unbeaten 80 (43 balls, six fours, two sixes) was the only contribution beyond 20. Measured at first, as wickets fell around him, Buttler paced his innings perfectly, climbing into the bowling late on.
But then Hose, making his debut after moving from Somerset on a three-year deal last week, smashed a dazzling, T20-best 76 from 43 balls with seven fours and five sixes to put his side on course for victory. And after he perished, Grant Elliott saw his side over the line with just two balls to spare with an shrewd unbeaten 45 (33 balls, five fours).
Put in, the Lightning soon lost Liam Livingstone (12, 14 balls) whose middle-stump was knocked out by Keith Barker. Arron Lilley and Karl Brown each connected with a couple of big blows but reached only 18 and 16 respectively before falling to excellent outfield catches from Elliott and Aaron Thomason.
Dane Vilas became the fourth batsman to reach ten but not 20 when he and Buttler disagreed over a single and Colin De Grandhomme exacted full punishment with a direct hit. Steven Croft became the fifth when he was caught by wicketkeeper Alex Mellor down the leg-side off De Grandhomme.
When De Grandhomme bowled Ryan McLaren, it was 121 for six and the Lightning needed some late impetus. Buttler and Tom Bailey supplied it, both clearing the ropes off Barker in the 19th over before Buttler took 19 from the last over, from Rankin.
In reply, Birmingham lost both openers in the first 14 balls as Ed Pollock skied Bailey to backward point and Ian Bell nicked McLaren behind. Hose and Sam Hain rallied with a stand of 51 in 34 balls before the latter (22, 17 balls) fell lbw to Matt Parkinson’s sixth ball.
Hose and Elliott had 50 on the board in the next 15 minutes though and the debutant celebrated with successive sixes off Steven Parry. The pair added 69 in 44 balls before Hose charged and missed at Parkinson and Buttler completed an easy stumping.
Led by the skilful Parkinson, Lancashire fought hard to the end, but it came down to five from the last over and Elliott thumped McLaren over mid-off for four to seal the win to a huge roar from the big home crowd.