A collective batting effort from Birmingham top-order, not least Adam Hose and Sam Hain, ensured the visitors secured a comfortable six wicket victory over Glamorgan in Cardiff.
Despite the Welsh county quicks briefly threatening the batsmen in the death overs, Hain and Michael Burgess clubbed 23 runs in five balls in the penultimate over to kill the contest. The target was a mere 141 which, given Glamorgan’s stuttering batting returns, could have been deemed respectable if not overwhelming.
Chris Cooke top-scored for the home side with a career-best knock of 72.
Glamorgan came into the game on the back of a strong show with the ball, beating Gloucestershire yesterday, whereas the Bears arrived at Sophia Gardens searching for their first win after their opening fixture against Somerset suffered a washout.
Understandably, an unchanged Glamorgan won the toss and opted to bat under sunny skies. One could be forgiven for being skeptical at the decision as Billy Root departed in the second over, edging Olly Stone’s first delivery through to keeper Burgess. Andrew Balbirnie soon followed, after holing out to Hose at deep square leg off Tim Bresnan with just 12 runs on the board.
Dan Douthwaite and Cooke stitched a brief 33-run partnership and it wasn’t until the sixth over when the former clubbed Bresnan over long-on for the first six of the day. However, his success was short-lived as he skied one to Jake Lintott, the debutant, at mid-wicket as Glamorgan finished the powerplay at 46 for three.
The hosts lost wickets at regular intervals on a sticky wicket and struggled to score off left-arm wrist spinner Lintott.
Perhaps the most fascinating matchup of the game was one few would have expected. Merchant de Lange, sent in at the fall of the fourth wicket with only 61 on board, looked to take on Jeetan Patel and Lintott, a move reminiscent of New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan being sent in as a pinch-hitter.
However, Lintott tied him down with clever googlies and eventually dismissed him caught at midwicket, but not before the South African had slog swept Patel for a six.
The redoubtable Cooke stood firm as wickets continued to tumble around him and nurdled around for singles, a ploy that had eventually proved to be the difference in a 15-run victory the day before. Cooke brought up a second-successive 47-ball half-century shortly after the 100-run mark was breached.
He smoked two sixes in the final two overs – one over midwicket and the other flicked over square leg – but eventually fell as he looked to up the ante.
Prem Sisodiya, the last man in, ensured Glamorgan finished with 140 on the board slapping Brookes away for a four.
Birmingham’s response in pursuit of 141 started off in a poor fashion and it looked like the spinners would again spin a web when Ed Pollock chose a very full delivery to launch Sisodiya, only to be out LBW for a duck.
However, Ian Bell and Hose ensured there were no more hiccups in the powerplay as boundaries continued to flourish off Douthwaite and Timm van der Gugten’s bowling. Hose was aggressive and did not let Salter settle, launching him over long-on for a six.
The Bears were at par with Glamorgan at the end of the powerplay with the score 46 for one, albeit with fewer wickets. Bell brought up the half-century stand, flicking de Lange into the off-side for a brace.
With 75 needed, Hose was bowled by de Lange as Hain strode out to the middle. Salter returned in the next over to dismiss veteran Bell leaving Bears three down for 71.
Douthwaite bowled Bears’ new skipper Will Rhodes for 16 and that was the last wicket to fall, but that’s not to say the Glamorgan pacemen didn’t create chances.
In fact, the chase tensed up, with de Lange nailing four successive yorkers to tip the balance in Glamorgan’s favour with 25 required off 18. However, van der Gugten’s penultimate over saw Burgess heave a six into the leg-side, before Hain clubbed 15 off three deliveries – last of which was a no-ball – to seal a six-wicket victory for the visitors with more than an over to spare.