Sam Hain prepares the Bears for a crushing victory over Yorkshire
As Birmingham Bears opened their Vitality Blast campaign with a comfortable 34-run success over Yorkshire Vikings at Edgbaston, Sam Hain’s continuing excellence shone once more.
The Bears were elevated to an impressive 200 for six in the second part of the inaugural “Blast Off” double header by a stand of 97 runs in 47 balls by Saim Hain (83 not out, 46 balls) and Chris Benjamin (46, 28). Lancashire defeated Derbyshire in the first half.
The loss of Hassan Ali, who turned his ankle during the warm-ups, was subsequently made light of by the Bears’ bowling attack. In his first 11 deliveries, Chris Woakes struck twice, dropping the Vikings to 34 for 5.
After that, there was no turning back, as they were stopped at 166 all out, with Dawid Malan leading the way with 43 points from 29 shots and Henry Brookes taking four for 32.
The big margin of victory maintained the recent pattern of less-than-tight Blast matches between these clubs, with each team winning their previous two games by a combined ten wickets.
The home team’s choice to terminate the powerplay at a modest 41 for three initially made the Vikings’ decision to bowl seem wise. As Glenn Maxwell’s IPL obligations came to an end, Paul Stirling, who had returned to Birmingham temporarily, put on Matt Revis, whose superb first two overs had only cost eight runs.
The Bears were at 51 for four when Dom Bess’ third ball bowled Dan Mousley via an attempted slog-sweep, a shaky starting point that Hain and Benjamin first stabilized and then dramatically expanded upon with some fierce strokeplay.
When Benjamin lashed to deep square leg, Revis returned to terminate the partnership, but Hain stayed to smash seven fours and four sixes. His next two fours, which he hit off Ben Mike’s final two balls of the inning to bring the total to 200, were hauled to the boisterous Hollies Stand side.
The Vikings lost wickets on the fifth delivery in each of the first four overs, which is when Woakes started to get busy. Adam Lyth was caught behind by the World Cup winner, who also made Shan Masood continue the game. With a nick to the wicketkeeper, Henry Brookes terminated Jonny Bairstow’s contribution at seven from six balls. He then dismissed Will Fraine, leaving the innings in ruins at 20 for four.
When Revis connected wonderfully with a cover drive off Dan Mousley and was brilliantly caught at extra-cover by Danny Briggs, that became 34 for five. When Jordan Thompson fired up a skier later in the over, Mike was also gone thanks to another excellent catch by Brookes leaping forward at deep square off Craig Miles. Malan was then left with 133 to find from ten overs and only the lower order for company.
Despite some reckless tossing in a lost cause from Dom Bess (42 not out, 28) and Jafer Chohan (37, 20), the Vikings were unable to complete the task of scoring 102 runs from the final six overs after Malan was bowled leg before wicket by Jake Lintott.
Birmingham Bears 200 for 6 (Hain 83) beat Yorkshire 166 (Brookes 4-32) by 34 runs