Birmingham Bears made it back-to-back wins in the Vitality Blast as they beat Derbyshire Falcons by 49 runs in front of 7,500 at Edgbaston.
Chasing a hefty 205 for five, the Falcons faltered early with the loss of two wickets in the first nine balls and never threatened from there. They finished on 156 for nine.
The Bears’ daunting total owed most to a classy third-wicket partnership of 113 in 65 balls from Sam Hain (85, 61 balls) and Adam Hose (69, 35 balls). Ashton Agar added a violent 26 (15 balls) as only Ravi Rampaul (three for 21) withstood the onslaught.
The Falcons’ pursuit was then undone by the loss of early wickets, including two careless run outs. Leus du Plooy defied with a brilliant 70 (43 balls) but was alone in his resistance as nobody else in the top seven reached 15.
The Falcons’ defeat, following their victory over Yorkshire in their opening game, means that no team in the North Group won their first two games, though the Bears are the early pace-setters after a washout and two wins.
The Falcons chose to bowl and started well by removing openers Ed Pollock and Michael Burgess in the first 23 balls. Rampaul opened up with two overs for just four runs and the Bears ended the powerplay on only 36 for two but but Hain and Hose first rebuilt carefully then climbed into counter attack.
They reached their half-centuries, Hain from 42 balls, Hose from 26 in the same over from leg-spinner Matt Critchley and Hose smote 69 with three sixes and nine fours before edging Logan Van Beek behind.
Agar hit two of his first six balls into the crowd and helped Hain to add 63 in 27 balls before both fell in Rampaul’s final over. The Falcons’ fans might have wondered why the paceman wasn’t brought back earlier when the Bears’ batsmen began to escape control.
The Falcons soon lost Luis Reece, bowled second-ball by Fidel Edwards, and Wayne Madsen, brilliantly run out by Alex Thompson. du Plooy was immediately on the offensive but, having done for his partner Madsen with a dodgy call, captain Billy Godelman was then run out himself by smart work from Jeetan Patel.
That was 58 for three and, while Du Plooy galloped to 50 from 33 balls, the rest buckled under the pressure of a steepling run-rate required and accurate bowling led by spinners Patel (4-0-17-1) and Agar (4-0-22-1).