Blast Report: Bears at Foxes

Birmingham Bears returned to winning ways in the Vitality Blast with an emphatic victory over Leicestershire Foxes at the Fischer County Ground.

The Bears will go straight back into action away to Derbyshire tomorrow buoyed by their third eight-wicket win of the group stage.

After choosing to bat, the Foxes were bowled out for 143 by an excellent bowling display led by Olly Stone 4-0-22-3, Grant Elliott 4-0-18-2 and Chris Woakes 3.3-0-18-2. All five bowlers used were among the wickets as only Neil Dexter (56, 37 balls, seven fours, two sixes) lasted more than 15 balls.

The Bears then raced to 146 for two with 34 balls to spare as Adam Hose struck his fifth T20 half-century – a brutal unbeaten 66 from 34 balls with 12 fours and a six. He received classy support from Ian Bell (34, 23 balls, six fours) and Sam Hain (27 not out, 22 balls, four fours).

Batting first, the Foxes were pegged back straight away when Woakes’s second ball bowled Cameron Delport. The England all-rounder was then soon back in the action, at mid-off to take a skier from Mark Cosgrove off Stone.

Accurate bowling from Woakes and Stone restricted the home side to 21 from the first four overs and the Bears struck a further blow when Ben Raine, century-maker at Edgbaston three weeks ago, was held by a juggling by Ed Pollock at long leg off Aaron Thomason.

Dexter posted a 29-ball half-century but lost another partner when Colin Ackermann lifted Elliott to Thomason at long on.

Former Bears all-rounder Ateeq Javid fell to an astounding catch by Pollock, at full stretch at short third man to clutch a skied reverse sweep off Elliott. When Patel drifted a beauty through the advancing Dexter to bowl him, it was 95 for six.

Ned Eckersley and Mohammad Nabi  counter-attacked briefly before Stone returned to dismiss them both in three balls. He powered a yorker through the former before a rapid leg-cutter had the latter caught-behind.

Zak Chappell pulled Thomason to Hose on the mid-wicket boundary and it was 143 all out when Callum Parkinson lifted Woakes to Stone at mid-off.

Bell and Pollock launched the Bears’ reply with a breezy 21 from 12 balls before the latter was bowled by Afghan off-spinner Mohammad Nabi. Bell advanced sweetly to 34 before falling in the unluckiest fashion of all, run out backing up. He needs just 18 at Derby tomorrow to dislodge Jonathan Trott as the highest T20 run-scorer for the Bears.

Hose and Hain were soon motoring and three fours for Hose from a Dexter over raised the half-century stand and left just 33 needed from eight overs. Hose’s tenth four, scooped off Javid, took him to 50 from 29 balls and he celebrated later in the over with a huge six over long on.

The big contingent of travelling Bears fans were in fine voice as Hose and Hain sealed the win with an unbroken stand of 95 in 48 balls.


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