The Birmingham Bears recorded an easy win over the Yorkshire Vikings, thanks to a sensational first over of their innings and contrasting half centuries from Ian Bell and Adam Hose.
In the Press Lounge between innings it was concluded, by those in the know, that Yorkshire’s 157-7 was an inadequate total but that Birmingham’s young opener Ed Pollock was maybe little more than a poor man’s Neil Carter, a fallible pinch-hitter.
Then we returned to the Press Box, just in time to see Matthew Fisher bowl the first over of the innings. At the end of that over, the Birmingham Bears were 33-0 and the aforesaid Pollock was 26 not out. To all intents and purposes, the match was decided.
Pollock blasted his way to 39 off just 14 balls, with five fours and three sixes. When he was out in the fourth over, the Bears were 55-1.
Despite a rare failure for Sam Hain, the Bears cruised to victory in under 16 overs. Ian Bell stroked an effortless 50 off 40 balls with six boundaries. Adam Hose was more brutal in his shot-making, hitting four sixes as well as three fours.
Of the Yorkshire bowlers, only Tim Bresnan with 14 runs off three overs including 13 dot balls retained much dignity. The unfortunate Fisher conceded 56 runs off his four overs.
To be fair, the Yorkshire bowlers could point to the under-performance of their batsmen as the main reason for the defeat. On a good pitch, 157-7 was a poor effort.
Two wickets for the precocious Henry Brookes unsettled the Yorkshire innings early on. Adam Lyth was trapped lbw for nought and the bowler’s near-namesake Harry Brook was well caught by Grant Elliott off a skier. In between, Oliver Hannon-Dalby claimed Tom Kohler-Cadmore who pulled straight to Sam Hain at deep square leg.
Gary Ballance played a lone hand for the Vikings. Dom Sibley, in his new incarnation as a leg-spinner, bowled Tattersall with what looked suspiciously like a googly and Jack Leaning walked straight past a straight ball from Grant Elliott.
Tim Bresnan skied to long on to give Brookes a third wicket. Ballance and Fisher did their best to give the innings credibility, 18 coming off the final over from Hannon-Dalby before Ballance was caught behind off the last ball.
As most of the 10,000 plus crowd will have suspected, the Yorkshire score was nowhere near adequate.
The Vikings have now won one and lost one in the North Group whereas the Bears have won two out of their three games. There is a long way to go; but the Bears look like a strong outfit who must stand every chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Blast.