On a fine day and in front of a good crowd of 11,442, the home side cruised to an easy win.
As anyone who has used a payday loan company can tell you, not all borrowings are a good idea. But sometimes they are needed; and the Birmingham Bears, beset by injuries, gratefully took Fidel Edwards on loan for the T20 Bash. At the end of his debut over, Leicestershire were 2-3 and the Edgbaston-based team looked to have struck a great deal.
Having bowled both Neil Dexter and Mark Cosgrove first ball, Edwards also had Arron Lilley caught on the square leg boundary. His four wicket haul was completed when he came back at the end of the innings to get Callum Parkinson caught by another T20 Bears debutant, Michael Burgess, off a skier.
By then, the Foxes were 98-7 and the match was as good as over The Bears’ bowlers never let the Foxes recover from that disastrous start. Henry Brookes, like Edwards, worked up a good pace, Will Rhodes got Colin Ackerman with a deadly yorker and the three spinners, Jeetan Patel, Agar and Alex Thomson, hardly turned a ball but conceded only 54 runs off their ten overs.
In the Leicestershire total of 115-9, the Bears’ bowlers delivered 58 dot balls. Only Ackerman with 26 and Henry Dearden with 27 made any sort of progress against tight bowling and aggressive fielding.
The Birmingham Bears innings was like a brisk walk in the park. Burgess didn’t last long and Ed Pollock lived a slightly charmed life before falling to Dieter Klein for 27. But Sam Hain and Ashton Agar rapidly whittled down the margin.
Agar started by looking as if he was batting on the wrong hemisphere but, once he found his bearings, struck some powerful blows. He lost Hain who mis-cued a pull off Greg Mike (himself recently a Bears loanee) but Adam Hose kept Agar company as the Bears raced to victory with 31 balls to spare.
This season’s T20 Blast is in its early stages; but based on today, the Bears look to have an excellent chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages whereas the Foxes will need to re-group rapidly.