Following a winning start to their NatWest T20 Blast campaign at New Road in the derby against Worcester, Birmingham Bears took to the field at Edgbaston for their first home match against Nottinghamshire Outlaws.
Notts got off to the best possible start with opening batsman Michael Lumb smashing 16 off the first over, but that was as good as it got though in the opening stages. Jeetan Patel struck early for the Bears in the second over with Lumb falling victim to a tremendous William Porterfield catch.
Patel then struck again, twice, in his next over. 2 wickets in two balls, both catches from Sam Hain who fielded really well throughout. One of those wickets was one of the most crucial of the innings with danger man Alex Hales being removed early on for just 3. Notts were restricted to just 39-3 at the end of the powerplay.
Dan Christian came in at number 5 and alongside Samit Patel started to build the Outlaws innings and took them to 79-4 before Christian was dismissed by the impressive Jeetan Patel who finished with 4-22. Steven Mullany was next at the crease and accelerated the Notts innings adding 46 off 31 balls, alongside Samit Patel who reached a solid 55 of 33 balls. Notts Outlaws finished their innings on 158-6.
In front of an impressive 9,000 crowd Birmingham Bears came out to begin the run chase, setting the pace early on. Having reached 30 without loss, going into the third over, Notts bowler Luke Fletcher suffered an horrendous injury being struck on the head following a powerful drive from Sam Hain.
Play was suspended for 45 minutes, with Fletcher being taken to hospital, before the players returned to the field. Just one over later Sam Hain was the first to fall being caught by Dan Christian off the bowling of Harry Gurney for 17.
Ian Bell continued where he left off following an impressive 75 not out at New Road on Friday, by adding a further 47 to set the Bears on their way to reaching 159 set by the Outlaws. Bell was eventually caught by Michael Lumb off the bowling of Samit Patel leaving the Bears on 96-3 after 12.4 overs.
New Zealander Grant Elliott came in at number 4 adding a quick fire 38 from 22 balls to give the Bears a chance of reaching the required total. From the final over Birmingham required 5 to win. Will 5 balls bowled Birmingham scored 4 innings leaving 1 run required from 1 ball…
Then the drama came! Rikki Clarke faced the last ball from Dan Christian, a drive to straight to the fielder gifted the Outlaws a perfect chance of a run out. The ball was thrown to Michael Lumb at the bowler’s end and then as he went to take the bails off the stumps he fumbled the ball causing him to remove them himself leading to the third umpire giving a not out and Birmingham the win. The 9,000 in attendance erupted alongside the rather enthusiastic co-commentator… Freddie Flintoff!
Man of the Match: Jeetan Patel.