Birmingham 179 for 6 (Hain 61, Mousley 40) beat Worcestershire 163 for 8 (D’Oliveira 61, Rutherford 45) by 16 runs
Birmingham Bears took a big step towards the Vitality Blast quarter-finals with a 16-run victory over arch-rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Edgbaston.
On a chilly, autumnal night in Birmingham, the Bears totalled 179 for 6. After Rob Yates’ enterprising 37 at the top of the order, a solid total was assured by Sam Hain (61, 33 balls) and Dan Mousley (40, 31). Rapids captain Ed Barnard led his team’s bowling with an intelligent spell of 4-0-20-2.
Hamish Rutherford’s violent 45 (23 balls) gave the Rapids’ reply a lightning start and Brett D’Oliveira played beautifully for 61 (40 balls) but then fell to Henry Brookes with his team still needing 26 from 13 balls. That equation proved beyond the tail as the Rapids fell short on 163 for 8.
The Bears chose to bat first, having omitted Dom Sibley after the England opener scored just four runs in three T20 innings. The aggressive Adam Hose was promoted to open but it was Yates who provided early impetus with 37 from 20 balls with five fours and two sixes.
The Rapids hit back hard, though, as the Bears, from 64 for 1 in the eighth over, lost three wickets for six runs in 11 balls. The impressive Barnard forced miscues into the infield from Hose and Michael Burgess and D’Oliveira had Will Rhodes caught at mid-wicket.
Hain and Mousley, playing only his second T20, rebuilt with a stand of 80 in 53 balls which ended when the latter was caught off Morris. Hain continued his exceptional T20 form, reaching his half-century from 30 balls before edging Pat Brown behind in the final over.
The Rapids’ reply was spectacularly launched by Rutherford whose 45 came from just 23 balls, five of which he smote for six. His first-over assault on Tim Bresnan forced the Bears to change their plans and bring linchpin Jeetan Patel on early.
Patel bowled Jack Haynes in his first over and Jake Libby sliced Olly Stone to point but Rutherford threatened to win the game single-handed before he fell to Jake Lintott’s first ball, superbly caught in the deep by sub fielder Sibley.
Lintott ran out Ben Cox with a direct hit but D’Oliveira advanced to a 31-ball half-century and batted with enormous aplomb until he edged Henry Brookes behind. The game was still very much in the balance but the 19th over, from Stone, cost just four runs and brought the removal of Daryl Mitchell’s off stump to leave the Rapids’ lower order needing 18 from the final over – a challenge well beyond them.
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