Storms were circling round Edgbaston and it looked as though rain might be the winner. As it happened, it was not rain but Raine that decided the game.
The Foxes’ left-hander Ben Raine converted his first-ever T20 half century into an astonishing innings of 113 off just 46 balls with eight fours and ten sixes. It left the home side with the near impossible task of making a massive 230 to win.
Just to establish his all-round credentials, Raine chipped in with a couple of wickets to back up four from left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson as the Bears collapsed to defeat by the massive margin of 100 runs in just 15.2 overs.
The home side never came close to threatening the Leicestershire total, with Ed Pollock’s 25 being easily their top score.
Bear baiting may have been illegal since 1835 in this country but it was entirely a different matter at Edgbaston as the Foxes teased and toyed with the Bears before finally putting them out of their misery. The result left most of the crowd of over 8500 disappointed, having seen neither a home win nor a close contest.
After a bright start to the Foxes’ innings by Cameron Delport, Ben Raine was well supported by fellow left-hander Mark Cosgrove whose 42 was made off a relatively sedate 31 balls.
As for the Bears in the field, it was a disastrous evening. There were dropped chances by Colin de Grandhomme and Grant Elliott plus, most crucially, Ian Bell who spilt a chance off Raine when he was only on four. In addition, Dom Sibley missed a very achievable run-out opportunity.
Of the bowlers, only Jeetan Patel with 0-33 off his four overs, went for less than ten an over.
Raine played a wide range of cleanly hit shots, mostly genuine cricket strokes. He achieved the highest score ever against the Bears in T20 cricket. Apart from the one early chance, he totally dominated the Bears bowling which seemed bland and ineffective on a true pitch that gave little help to either spin or seam.
Both sides now have won two and lost two of their T20 Blast games but it is the Foxes who will now go forward with confidence.
As for the Birmingham Bears, they not only lost the match but also suffered a severe dent to their net run rate, which could possibly be decisive at the end of the qualifying stages.