Durham cruised to a seven-wicket win over Warwickshire in a rain-affected game at Edgbaston in the Royal London One-Day Cup to continue their impressive start in the competition.
It is now three wins from four for the county that finished bottom of the North Group last season, putting them in a fantastic position to make the play-offs this time around.
Warwickshire, on the other hand, remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just the solitary point from their first four fixtures and the worst possible way to start a period which sees them play three times in five days.
Alex Lees’ glorious 78 not out took Durham to their revised target of 211 with 14 balls to spare. He came in at the beginning of the sixth over after Warwickshire had put the visitors under some early pressure in their chase, with Oliver Hannon-Dalby seeing off Sam Steel for just nine, thanks to a superb catch by Dominic Sibley at mid-wicket.
He, together with Graham Clark, set about making light work of their target with some glorious shots all around the wicket. One huge six off Will Rhodes from Lees summed up the emphatic nature of this performance from Durham.
They didn’t have it all their own way though as first Graham Clark slapped one straight to Sam Hain at mid-wicket off Alex Thomson before Cameron Bancroft feathered one through to Alex Mellor, on for the injured Tim Ambrose, off Chris Woakes. The England bowler’s 1-36 off 7.4 overs was the only real Warwickshire resistance.
At 132-3, there was still some work to do but Gareth Harte came in to support Lees and the impotence of the former’s innings of 51* was summed up when he drove Chris Woakes down the ground for a gorgeous boundary.
In truth, Warwickshire never really gave themselves a chance having been asked to bat first with their total of 244-8 looking very light despite a slow outfield.
In the initial stages, the Bears looked to be set for something competitive with Ed Pollock racing to 22 with four fours and a six before, as is so often with the young man, playing one big shot too many and being caught at deep mid-wicket.
Brydon Carse, who recorded career-best List A figures of 3-52, was the man to see Pollock off and some really tight bowling all round from Durham restricted Warwickshire for much of the innings with the home fans not seeing a boundary for the best part of 18 overs at one stage.
Liam Trevaskis was really impressive in that department, with 1-29 from his 7 overs, and his tying down of Dominic Sibley eventually saw the opener sky one to the same place Pollock had done so earlier for 16.
Sibley’s strike-rate of 43.24 summed up the problem for Warwickshire, as although Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose put together a neat partnership of 69, when Hain tried to accelerate after reaching his first half-century of this List A campaign he was bowled round his legs by Gareth Harte.
Tim Ambrose did his best to anchor the innings as he lost partners in Will Rhodes for three and Liam Banks for two, but his only assault came in one Gareth Harte over where he slapped two consecutive balls to the cow corner boundary.
When he tried to accelerate the score, he was also punished as he was caught at midwicket off the bowling of Matty Potts for 62. His twinge to the hip, which prevented him from fielding, adds further woe to Warwickshire’s struggling campaign.
The bright spark for Warwickshire was Chris Woakes, who would have impressed any England selectors watching on after making a half century from 45 balls.
Alex Thomson went for a duck, another victim of playing a big shot, and he was caught at deep cover before Woakes himself holed out trying to get his team to something competitive. His innings was so classy that you wonder whether Warwickshire should take a risk in the absence of Ian Bell and play him higher up the order.
Jeetan Patel hit 11 not out and George Panayi 18 not out to finish the Bears’ 50 overs, but 244 never really looked like a sufficient total and so it proved.