Shropshire Star

Birmingham Bears victorious but Worcestershire Rapids fade

Birmingham Bears picked up a second win in three days to keep their place among the North Group contenders with a seven-wicket Vitality Blast victory over Derbyshire Falcons.


On a used Derby pitch that yielded runs only reluctantly, the visitors restricted Derbyshire to 133 for seven, left-arm spinner Danny Briggs taking two for 23 with David Lloyd scoring 50 and Brooke Guest an unbeaten 38. Richard Gleeson took two wickets in the powerplay but it was the Bears’ spinners largely responsible for tying down the Falcons.

Derbyshire’s spinners threatened to do a similar job but Dan Mousley (66 not out) and Sam Hain (43) showed considerable patience and eventually reaped the rewards, their 93-run partnership across 13.3 overs effectively winning the match, Mousley closing it out with his seventh four with seven balls to spare.

Mousley said: “It was good to come here and get a win. I thought we bowled brilliantly and it was nice from my point of view to get us over the line.

“It helps batting with Hainy, he helps me to keep calm. I’m the one trying to hit everything for six and he’s telling me to give myself a little bit of time and not rush things.

“I did not have a clue that it was a career best. I was more nervous to be honest about getting it right and getting us over the line. It was a nice relief because I haven’t scored the volume of runs I would have liked to this season.

“It wasn’t a bad wicket. It got a little bit harder in the middle and there was a bit of hold but I just thought we bowled really well as a unit. The seamers up front were brilliant and the spinners were outstanding. We contained really well, we were just trying to squeeze them in the middle and that brought the rewards. We were really chuffed at the halfway stage.

“It felt weird for me not to get any wickets after I thought I bowled well but I know I did a decent job with the ball and I’ll take that any day of the week if we win the game

“We feel like we’re in a good place. We dusted ourselves down really well after we lost two on the bounce last week, no one dropped their heads. We know we can beat anybody in the group and it is just about trying to be 100 per cent as many times as we can.”

n Northamptonshire enhanced their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Vitality Blast as they completed a double over Worcestershire with their fourth win in six matches this season.

But in contrast a fourth successive defeat has left Worcestershire with an uphill challenge to reach the quarter-finals.

As during Friday’s game with Notts Outlaws, batting was not straightforward on a two-paced hybrid pitch.

The Steelbacks were indebted to a stand of 75 between Matthew Breetzke and Sikandar Raza against some accurate seam bowling.

Worcestershire also had to scrap for runs and Ethan Brookes provided the backbone of their innings with his joint highest T20 score.

But Northamptonshire also produced a disciplined bowling performance to restrict the home side, Ben Sanderson finishing with 3 for 16, and also fielded excellently.

Worcestershire assistant head coach, Kadeer Ali, said: “Quite disappointing to be honest. Over the last three games, we had some close games which we deserved to get over the line.

“But Northamptonshire outplayed us if I’m honest. They used the conditions better than we did and it was a disappointing result for us.

“I think we were a little bit sloppy in the field. We bowled pretty nicely and we conceded six to eight runs through misfields and in T20 cricket four to six runs can cost you the game.”

n Central Sparks defeated Southern Vipers by five wickets in the duel of already-qualified teams in the Charlotte Edwards Cup at New Road, Worcester.

With both sides already assured a place in Finals Day at Derby on June 22, Sparks showed their bowling strength in depth as they rested Kingswinford’s Hannah Baker and Emily Arlott but still bowled the visitors out for just 98 in 17.5 overs.

Grace Potts, Katie George, Bethan Ellis and Ria Fackrell took two wickets apiece as no Vipers batter reached 20, Rhianna Southby top-scoring with 19 from number eight.

Sparks then eased to 99 for five with 31 balls to spare as Wolverhampton’s Davina Perrin launched their reply with an assertive 26 from 17 balls and Amy Jones saw them to the threshold of victory 26 from 29.