Bears run amok as McCullum breaks records

Birmingham Bears (242-2) beat Derbyshire Falcons (182 all out) by 60 run

With Brendan McCullum scoring the highest T20 score ever in England, the Birmingham Bears mauled the life out of the Derbyshire Falcons to confirm their grip at the top of the North Group of the NatWest T20 Blast.

When the Bears signed Brendan McCullum, it was partly about putting posteriors on seats and partly about runs on the board.  Tonight, Brendan McCullum delivered both.

In front of a good crowd on a warm and fine Birmingham evening, he hammered 158 runs off just 64 balls.  This was the highest T20 score in England and it equalled his own best.  This puts him second only to Chris Gayle whose 175 is the highest individual T20 score in the world.

From the word go, McCullum pummelled the Derbyshire Falcons’ bowling to all parts of the ground.  At times, he seemed to be picking out the boundary fielders in order to hit the ball right over their heads. Some of his shots were out of the coaching manual, others such as a ladle over the wicket-keeper, a refinement of the Dil-scoop, were of his own invention but may find their way into the next manual.

His fifties came in 23, 19 and 18 balls . In total, he hit 13 fours and 11 sixes to all parts of the ground.

Bowling to him must be intimidating but, in all honesty, much of the Falcons’ bowling was third-rate at best.  Nathan Rimmington, who has a good T20 pedigree, seemed to think that half-volleys outside the off stump would do the trick.  Not so!  His four overs went for 56 runs.

None of the seven bowlers used conceded less than ten an over. It was great to watch, although at times it resembled a cruel child tormenting a wounded animal.  That’s T20 for you!

McCullum was well supported by Varun Chopra with 51 off 37 balls, the opening stand of 160 lasting 13.1 overs. Laurie Evans and William Porterfield had the bit parts.

Overall, the Bears’ total of 242-2 comfortably beat their previous best of 205, achieved on two occasions. It equalled the third highest T20 team total in English cricket.

Although the Derbyshire Falcons made a lively start, with Hamish Rutherford and Wes Durston putting on 61 in the first 5.3 overs, it was always a hopeless task.  Rutherford scored 39 off 21 balls and Durston 43 off 24 but Josh Poysden perfected the art of conceding a six and then getting a wicket, taking 4-51 with his leg-spinners.

Jeetan Patel is the best innings squeezer in the business and took 2-18 off his four overs.  Just to prove that it was one of those nights, Alex Hughes was run out when Recordo Gordon involuntarily deflected a fierce straight drive onto the stumps with the hapless batsman out of his ground.

So the Falcons succumbed by 60 runs, losing their last wicket to the final ball of the 20 overs.

Although they were well beaten, their 182 was the second highest T20 score at Edgbaston this season.  The Bears march on and the Falcons remain anchored to the foot of the table.

Man of the Match: This gets easier every week. Of course, it’s that man Brendan McCullum and he requires no embellishment.

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