7/5/2018 0 Comments
How do you solve a problem like Ian Bell? Last season he seemed like a player on the decline, with little chance of playing for England. Today there were echoes of the old bell. It may be a phantom ring that you get out at sea of villages long lost to mother nature.
This fixture was a replay of last season’s final which Nottinghamshire won on that occasion. Today they were mainly second best to Birmingham Bears (Warwickshire).
Chris Nash didn’t enjoy his finest day at the office as the was dismissed third ball, and then when fielding, he seemed to land awkwardly on his shoulder going for a catch.
Nottinghamshire lost a cluster of wickets, Samit Patel went first ball caught and bowled by Colin de Grandhomme. Dan Christian didn’t last much longer as Nottinghamshire started to become desperate.
Riki Wessels struck 41 from 29 balls to add impetus to the innings. The innings then began to falter and Billy Root while ticking over the strike could only score singles. It put pressure on the batsman at the other end. Stephen Mullaney with a brisk 22 from 12 balls, he fell for the unwritten rule of six and out.
Luke Fletcher with three sixes in one Jeetan Patel over gave Nottinghamshire some hope late on. It wasn’t until the final over that Root scored a boundary, as a four followed his maximum. It was enough to power Nottinghamshire over the 150 mark and to 155 for 7.
It soon looked far from enough as Ed Pollock hit two sixes in the first over. It was a brief show from Pollock but allowed Bell to settle in for the day.
Adam Hose also came and went for 17. In stepped Sam Hain and along with Bell set about the target with relish. Both traded in fours, Hain the heir apparent to the Bell throne. There were the trademark cover drives on show.
Bell finished with 82 from 57 balls and threatened to overshadow the young pretender Hain. If both had opened this game could have been over much sooner. Hain took only thirty balls to reach 45 not out and if anything deserved a fifty along with Bell.
It will for Birmingham ring out a warning that they can go far in this competition.
Elsewhere, Sussex’s dynamic bowling attack proved far too strong for a weak looking Essex side. Debutant Rashid Khan had the Eagles batsmen's heads spinning as he collected excellent figures of 2-25 to put the brakes of the host’s pursuit of 181.
Earlier in the day, Sussex recovered nicely from 32/3 thanks to fifties from Laurie Evans and the impressive Michael Burgess, who struck a rapid 56 from 23 balls in just his second T20 game of his first-class career.
It was a curious display from the Eagles who picked four spinners but only bowled five overs of spin during the visitors' innings. Three of which came from new overseas signing Adam Zampa, who despite bagging a wicket in his first over, was comfortably outshone by his Afghan counterpart.
Burgess and Evans’ show alongside late hitting from Jofra Archer propelled the visitors total beyond 180, a decent total on a pitch that offered spin and swing for the bowlers. And so it proved as Essex struggled to get going throughout and the anchor that was Khan weighed them down even further. South African David Weise took five-wickets as he took advantage of the scoreboard pressure that was building on the hosts throughout as the Eagles strutted and stalled.
Only Varun Chopra threatened to take Essex close to their target with the former Warwickshire man striking 64 off 48-balls before he fell victim to Khan in the Afghans final over. That triggered the collapse with the hosts capitulating in spectacular style losing their final five wickets for just one run to fall to a 36-run defeat on opening night at ‘Fortress Chelmsford’.
There was plenty of excitement at Wantage Road though as over 440 runs were scored as Leicestershire’s excellent season continued with an opening night success over Northamptonshire.
Leicestershire won the toss and inserted their hosts clearly with half an eye on a chase later in the evening. But they didn’t account for the hitting of Ben Duckett, Josh Cobb and Alex Wakely who all helped themselves to fifties as the Steelbacks raced to 218/3 from their 20 overs.
Duckett, in particular, looked in fine form smashing 12 fours and three maximums on his way to 96, before he holed out to Neil Dexter off the bowling of Ben Raine. But the clean hitting of Alex Wakely ensured Duckett’s efforts wouldn’t go to waste as the hosts set a testing total for the Foxes to chase down.
But this Leicestershire side is a different animal to that of a few years ago; they have grit and steel under their new coach Paul Nixon. And they needed it to chase this total down, what will be please for Nixon and his coaching staff is the fact that everyone mucked in during this innings. With only really Tom Wells failing with the bat.
Colin Ackermann acted as the glue as he held the innings together with an excellent 66 from 31 balls, striking at well over 200. He smashed four sixes and five fours to guide the visitors’ home.
Whisper it quietly, but the Foxes could well be the dark horses from the north group.
Reports by Jamie Ramage (@famousstrauss) and David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
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