It’s almost unfair really: Birmingham playing finals day on their home ground, they know the pitch, the shape of the ground and undoubtedly have more support. So it came as no surprise that they came out on top, booking their place in the final later today against either Hampshire or Nottinghamshire.
As Glamorgan: it’s your first finals day since 2004, you want it to go well, you win the toss, you field first, you’re happy and then you get hit in the Pollocks – the Ed Pollocks that is.
Pollock set the Birmingham Bears off to flyer, bringing up his 50 in the fifth over off 23 balls including five 4s and four 6s. Two of those came off Michael Hogan in the second over, one that could not have been straighter back past the bowler if he had got his protractor and set square out.
As he fell on the penultimate ball of the powerplay, Pollock had not added to his 50 runs but he had set his side an imposing platform to go on from, leaving them on 65 for 1.
Where Pollock made scoring look easy, the rest of the side whilst setting 175 from their twenty overs never quite scored with the same fluency or brutality of Pollock. His opening partner Sibley, who was on just seven when Pollock brought up his 50, chipping in with 27 and overseas duo Elliott and De Grandholme also contributed with 32 and 30 respectively.
However, with the start they got I would imagine the Bears will be a little unhappy with their final total.
Jaques Rudolph, though, would have walked out to face the first ball quite happy that his side could chase that total with the likes of himself, Ingram, Miller and Meshede in their side.
However six overs later his side had spluttered to 48 for 4. He had moved untroubled to 30 not out off 17 balls, while Donald, Ingram, Miller and Carlson had fallen at the other end for a combined 18 runs.
Donald and Ingram both fell to exceptional catches, Donald to Sam Hain running and diving on the deep mid-wicket boundary off Woakes, and Ingram to an even better catch by skipper Grant Elliott running backwards from mid-on and diving full length off Stone.
The other two batsmen falling both caught behind by Ambrose, Miller without scoring off Thomason and Carlson off the impressive Olly Stone who bowled with real pace and venom and troubled every batsman who faced him, including De Lange who saw his stump cartwheeling backwards in the penultimate over to leave Stone with figures of 3 for 29 off his four overs.
Glamorgan reached the halfway stage of their innings on 76 for 5, with Cooke having joined and left his skipper following his teammates to the pavilion. This left Rudolph in the middle with Wagg, who between them began to build a partnership that started to give the men from Wales hope.
If the fielding in the powerplay had set up Birmingham’s victory, it was a piece of fielding by Aaron Thomason that all but guaranteed the victory for the Bears in the 15th over. Gathering a crisp shot from Wagg in his follow through, turning and running out the stranded Rudolph for a superb 65 off 39 balls. With that run out went any realistic hopes of a Glamorgan victory and them achieving a place in the final later today.
Glamorgan probably got closer than anyone expected after Rudolph’s departure, but the victory was never really in doubt, despite Andrew Salter’s heroics in the final over – hitting 4, 4, and 6 before falling to another excellent catch by Sam Hain in the out-field.
Glamorgan were left eleven runs short as they were bowled out in the final over, confirming Birmingham’s place in the final and Glamorgan’s place on the motorway home.