YORKSHIRE VIKINGS (A) – 8 July 2016
On July 8, Birmingham Bears will perform in front of the eye-catching expanse of the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley – just as they were the first opposing team to do when the new £21million structure was opened in 2010.
And the Bears will be hopping for a similar result, having ended up victors that day by 34 runs. That’s a pretty emphatic margin by NatWestT20Blast standards and it was earned by runs from Darren Maddy and Keith Barker followed by a brilliant fielding display which supporting accurate bowling led by the spin of Ant Botha (three for 16).
"the Bears have invariably enjoyed their T20 visits to Leeds."
The Vikings have some fine players on their roster but have never plundered T20 glory and struggled badly in last season’s tournament. They will be desperate to improve in 2016 – but the Bears have invariably enjoyed their T20 visits to Leeds.
Five years ago, Will Porterfield’s brilliant 21-ball half-century lifted Birmingham to a five-wicket win with 13 balls to spare. And who can forget 2014 when only a win would do to keep the Bears in the hunt for qualification for the quarter-finals? A target of 147 was receding ominously into the distance until Laurie Evans silenced the home crowd with a match-winning 69 from 44 balls.