On a gloomy damp evening at Edgbaston in a 12 over a side game, the Birmingham Bears were humiliated by Gloucestershire, who hammered 157-3 and then bowled the Bears out for exactly 100. It was an embarrassing defeat for the home side but a great evening for the visitors. Ian Cockbain struck a dazzling 84 off just 35 balls and, with the ball, left arm spinner Tom Smith took 5-16 off his three overs that included 11 dot balls.
Both teams entered the game in need of a win, having so far won one, lost one and had one no result. There were, however, no realistic prospects of the match starting on time following steady rain during most of the afternoon. As the umpires inspected under gloomy skies without the floodlights on, the scene was decidedly autumnal.
It has been a long time since the two sides met in a T20 match, way back in 2013 when Gloucestershire were rolled over for 96 at Cheltenham. They have had to wait a long time to avenge that defeat, but they did it in style.
Gloucestershire subjected all the Warwickshire bowlers to a massive battering. Dot balls were as rare as rocking horse droppings, whereas boundaries flowed like water over Niagara Falls – 13 fours and nine sixes, seven of them to Ian Cockbain. In the process, he went ahead of Michael Klinger as the leading T20 six hitter for Gloucestershire, now having 89 to Klinger’s 84.
For sure, the Birmingham bowlers were all over the place but it really didn’t seem to matter where they bowled, the batsmen had an answer. Miles Hammond, with 41 off 23 balls, gave Cockbain good support.
As for Gloucestershire in the field, they hardly put a foot wrong. The Bears lacked the fire power of the Gloucestershire batters and fell to some excellent outfield catches.
The contrast between the sides could be encapsulated in the fifth over of each innings. Tim Bresnan bowled it for the Bears and Ian Cockbain struck a four followed by three sixes. Overall, Bresnan went for 24 in the over.
It was Tom Smith who bowled the fifth over for Gloucestershire. He had Adam Hose stumped by James Bracey first ball, then a dot ball, a single and another dot before Sam Hain was brilliantly caught at long on by that man Cockbain. There is no collapse that can’t be made worse by a run out and, sure enough, Will Rhodes was run out off the last ball. So three wickets fell for just the one run.
As a result of this win, Gloucestershire rise to second in the group whereas the Bears stay out of touch with the leaders.