There were plenty of shocks in the Natwest Blast on Friday evening as holders Lancashire fell to a second defeat of the season and Yorkshire fell to a heavy defeat to Leicestershire at Headingley.
At Edgbaston, the Pears beat the Bears to claim the Midlands bragging rights after Brett D’Oliveira continued his fine early season form to lead the visitors to their second success of the summer. After being invited to bat first by the ‘Rapids’ Birmingham got off to a flying start with Ian Bell and Sam Hain finding the boundary with ease to lead the hosts to 50 without loss after five overs. Hain’s departure though soon slowed the rate down as the visitors battled back in the middle overs. Hain fell to Jack Shantry (1-37) to depart for a quick-fire 24. Three tight overs followed as Joe Leach and Ed Barnard stemmed the flow of runs brilliantly, and the frustration showed when Barnard removed Porterfield for a run-a-ball twelve launching a ball down the throat of Alex Kervezee. After a promising start the hosts found themselves in a hole, and when D’Oliveira impressed with the ball to remove Laurie Evans leg before for two the Bears were in trouble on 83/3. D’Oliveria, the grandson of Basil, bowled a tight spell alongside Barnard to frustrate the hosts, and with Ian Bell going along at a run-a-ball the visitors were in command. Bell reached his half-century playing his typically classy way, but in truth, his innings was just a bit too pedestrian as he fell with the score on 121 off the final ball of the 16th over. You couldn’t keep Dolly out of the game as he caught the former England man off the bowling of Leach who fell for 66.
The Bears were behind the rate, and they knew it, Luke Ronchi their overseas star tried to rescue the situation and he hit a couple of lusty blows in his score of 21 before finding the hands of Kervezee in the deep to depart with an over-and-a-half to go. That left the inexperienced pair of Ateeq Javid and Mark Adair to up the scoring rate in the final over. Javid hit an early boundary before running out his partner off the second ball, and then hitting Matt Henry to Tom Kohler-Cadmore to fall himself with a ball to go. In the end, the hosts reached a below-par score of 155/7 from their 20 overs. The Rapids’ reply didn’t get off to a well ‘rapid’ start losing Kohler-Cadmore and Joe Clarke early to Adair and Recordo Gordon respectively. Clarke, in particular, was unlucky after Laurie Evans excellently pouched his nonchalant flick into the leg side. The visitors were soon three down when skipper Daryl Mitchell edged Boyd Rankin through to wicketkeeper Ronchi to leave the Pears on 45/3. Kervezee and D’Oliveira then steadied the ship sharing 53 for the fourth wicket at a good tempo. The in-form D’Oliveira particularly impressive playing shots all around the Edgbaston playing field as he eased the visitors to the finish line. Kervezee struck 40 before being bowled off an inside edge, whilst Ross Whiteley fell to Gordon for a well-made 23 trying to finish the game off in style with a six, only to lose his off-stump. But with just one required, fittingly, man-of-the-match D’Oliveira (62 not out & 1-17 from four overs) smashed Oliver Hannon-Dalby over the ropes to seal a five-wicket success for Mitchell’s men.
Elsewhere, in the North Group, reigning Champions Lancashire’s hopes of retaining their title took another blow as Durham ran out six-wicket winners at Old Trafford. Losing regular wickets proved to be the hosts downfall as only overseas star Martin Guptill and captain Steven Croft added meaningful contributions in their score of 149/8 from their twenty overs as the Red Rose fell short of par in Manchester. The New Zealander Guptill, opening for the hosts struck a brilliant 72 hitting 10 fours and a six during his 46-ball stay at the crease but when he departed halfway through the twelve over the Lancashire innings lost all momentum. Barry McCarthy and Usman Arshad were the pick of the Durham attack taking three wickets apiece as the pair combined to keep the hosts innings in check. Indeed, three wickets fell in the 16th over, bowled by McCarthy to well and truly put the brakes on the Lancashire innings. In the end, they rather limped to their total of 149 and they knew they would have to bowl out of their skins to defend that.
Things didn’t start well for the hosts as Durham smashed 43 from the first two overs as Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard combined in brutal fashion to get the visitors off to a dream start. Neil Wagner struck though this his first ball to remove Stoneman for 13 as Kyle Jarvis recovered from being smashed for 20 in his only over of the match beforehand to take a good catch. Mustard continued to find the boundary with ease though as he reached 46 hitting five fours and three sixes before he found the hands of Guptill. By then though the bulk of the damage was done with the score at 73/2 from six overs. Graham Clark and Michael Richardson picked up where Mustard and Stoneman left off smashing the Red Rose attack to all parts with no bowler really able to slow the rate down. Despite Clark falling to Wagner for 36, Durham were in complete control and Richardson (34 not out) alongside Keaton Jennings guided the visitors home with 30 balls to spare to claim their first win of the t20 summer.
Yorkshire were stunned by a Ben Raine inspired Leicestershire as the Foxes thrashed the Tykes by 54-runs at Headingley. Raine struck a career-best 48 before collecting impressive figures of 3-7 to guide his side to victory in Leeds. After being inserted by the hosts, Leicestershire were off the worst possible start losing skipper Mark Pettini for a duck as Tim Bresnan started the match with a wicket maiden. The hosts boasted a side packed full of local talent continued their positive start when James Wainman had Mark Cosgrove caught for 20 by Ben Coad. Irishman Kevin O’Brien attempted to up the ante for the visitors with a trio of boundaries but he soon fell too. England’s Liam Plunkett the man with the wicket as the all-rounder found Adil Rashid in the deep. Raine though continued to steady the ship hitting at just above a run-a-ball to be the glue the Foxes innings required. It allowed the likes of Niall O’Brien (39) and Lewis Hill to play the aggressive knocks to boost the visitor’s total passed par. Indeed, O’Brien and Hill (24 not out) only dealt in maximums hitting seven between them as the pair added vital late impetus to help the visitors to 174/7 from their 20 overs.
In pursuit of 175 for victory, a flurry of early wickets put the hosts immediately on the back foot with Raine and Kevin O’Brien striking to remove Adam Lyth, Alex Lees and Adil Rashid to leave the hosts struggle at 20/3. Tom Wells then joined the party striking in his first over to remove Jack Leaning and suddenly the White Rose were in all sorts of trouble on 32/4 from eight overs. Will Rhodes (45) and Gary Ballance (17) attempted a counter charge adding thirty runs in three overs but when Ballance became O’Brien’s second victim it was looking like game over.
Tim Bresnan struck a lusty blow before picking out Neil Dexter in the deep to give Jigar Naik his only wicket of the day to fall for 10. Dexter himself removed Liam Plunkett for a duck in the very next over to leave the hosts on 89/7. That soon became 98/8 when O’Brien collected his third and final wicket of the day bowling Andy Hodd for 1 to finish with figures of 3-27 from his four overs. Yorkshire’s top scoring Will Rhodes hit three fours and a brace of sixes before being the penultimate man to fall. He found the grateful hands of Wells off the bowling of Dexter to leave the Tykes on 109/9 and in the words of David Lloyd the cars were beginning to start. It was to be Raine who finished the game off to put Yorkshire out of their misery to cap a fine all-round game for the youngster. He bowled Ben Coad for one as the visitors secured a comfortable success to stun the locals and claim their first Blast success of the summer.
Elsewhere, in Northampton, the Steelbacks defeated the Falcons in a high-scoring game at the County Ground. Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes both struck forties, whilst late runs from wicketkeeper Tom Poynton (37 not out) pushed the visitors to a competitive total of 195/7. Sri Lankan leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna continued to impress for the hosts as he claimed figures of 2-27 including the vital wicket of Durston to be the pick of the Northants attack. For the hosts, there were vital contributions four of the Steelbacks top five batsmen as they snuck home to claim their second close fought win in a row. Richard Levi struck a rapid fire half-century to get the hosts of to a flying start. The Kolpak pro struck three fours and four sixes to propel the hosts towards the victory line. They did endure a wobble as Andy Carter struck three times late on in the game but Steven Crook (33 not out) picked up where he left off in the Championship fixture earlier in the week to guide the hosts to a three-wicket win.
In the only game in the South Group Middlesex were comfortable winners over Hampshire at Uxbridge. In the picturesque setting of Uxbridge Cricket Ground Dawid Malan richly entertained the paying punters smashing five sixes and ten fours on his way to 93 as the hosts racked up the runs. The Middlesex skipper dominated the hosts scoring but found able support from Adam Voges (23) as the pair led the hosts to a mammoth score. Tino Best didn’t enjoy his Blast debut for Hampshire going for 51 from his four overs as Uxbridge proved too small for Best’s rapid bowling. Shahid Afridi and Gareth Andrew were the pick of the visitors bowling attack taking two wickets apiece but Malan’s heroics had led the hosts to a more than useful 195/6 from their 20 overs. In reply, the visitors struggled to get going losing wickets regularly and in clusters as Middlesex impressed with the ball. Indeed, only Adam Wheater and Liam Dawson threatened to spoil the Middlesex party. But a disciplined bowling display by the hosts ensured Hampshire would fall way short. Toby Roland-Jones and Ravi Patel both had hat-trick opportunities as both Sean Ervine and Will Smith collected golden ducks. But the real story was the dramatic collapse from the visitors who went from contenders at 55/1 to no hopers at 96/8. This is a great win for Middlesex who claim their first t20 win at the first time of asking and still have the big-hitting Brendon McCullum to come into their side.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
All Alastair Cook Alex Hales BBC Radio Commentary Ben Coad Ben Duckett Birmingham Bears Chris Read County Championship County Cricket Dan Kingdom Darren Sammy David Bowden Day/Night Cricket Derbyshire Durham England Cricket Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hill James Anderson James Vince Jamie Ramage Joe Root Jofra Archer Jonny Bairstow Kent Kevin Hand Watch Kevin Hand-Watch Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Middlesex Natwest Blast Neil Harris Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire Previews Retrospective Reports RLODC Round Ups Round-ups Season Review Somerset Stuart Broad Surrey Sussex T20 Blast Team Of The Week Virdi Vitality Blast Warwickshire Wocestershire Worcestershire Yorkshire