If you win the toss and choose to bat first, then you have to score big. And that is exactly what Dan Christian and the Nottinghamshire Outlaws did tonight at Trent Bridge, scoring 184 for 4 in their twenty overs.
A total that, with the Outlaws’ bowling attack, proved to be too much for the Bears from Birmingham. They subsided to 113 all out in 17.3 overs, having never looked like getting anywhere near the total set by the Outlaws’ batsmen, and whimpered to a loss that will be very worrying for the Birmingham fans due to the nature of it. A 71 run loss in T20 cricket is a thumping, and against their closest rivals for a quarterfinal place they will take some picking up from.
It could have been very different, though. Tom Moores, who top scored for the Outlaws with a brutal display of hitting – scoring 69 off just 38 balls – was dropped on 17 by Liam Banks. It was a drop that proved very costly. Unlike his previous drop of Alex Hales in the third over, which only cost four runs, dropping Moores went on to cost 52 runs and potentially the match.
These two drops were in complete contrast with the rest of the fielding on show by the Bears tonight, which was on the whole exceptional – saving runs on the boundary which, without their brilliance, would have seen the men from Birmingham chasing over 200.
The Outlaws found the boundary with ease, only failing to find or clear the rope in two of their twenty overs. They amassed 114 runs through boundaries, hitting nine 6s and fifteen 4s. In comparison, it took the Bears until the fifth over to find the rope when Sam Hain picked up a leg side Harry Gurney delivery and dispatched him for 6 over deep mid-wicket.
The Bears’ struggles to find the boundary didn’t stop there. The miserly Matthew Carter produced a wicket maiden in the eighth over, returning Michael Burgess to the pavilion. This was just one of 11 overs where the Bears failed to find the boundary.
The reason was excellent bowling by the Outlaws’ attack, who strangled the life out of the Bears’ batting order, bowling to clear plans and executing them far more consistently than their opposition.
The Bears’ bowling attack bowled on both sides of the wicket and often too short, allowing Moores, and Joe Clarke who also reached 50, to free their arms and score more quickly – so quickly that every Bears bowler went at over a run a ball. In comparison, both Carter and Imad Wasim went at under a run a ball and their eight overs combined took five wickets for just 35 runs.
Overall The Outlaws out-performed The Bears in every aspect of the game and deserved their victory. It was a victory that sees them move to seven points in the North Group and in to the qualification places.
The Bears remain on five points, just outside the qualification places, and will be looking to bounce back against the Yorkshire Vikings on Sunday. The Outlaws will be happy to travel to Lancashire tomorrow to build on tonight’s imperious performance.
Man of the Match
You could pick pretty much any of the Nottinghamshire players for this award, such was their dominance tonight. Tom Moores and Joe Clarke were impressive with the bat and set the platform for the side to reach 184. On a ground that is famous for high scoring contests, however, the award has to go to a bowler.
Again, any of the Nottinghamshire bowlers could lay claim, but Matt Carter – with his 3 wickets for just 13 runs in four overs – choked the life out of the Bears’ batting order, and took the game away from the visitors and firmly into the hands of the home team.