Northants Steelbacks continued their fine start to the Vitality Blast season with a dominant display to beat the Birmingham Bears by 38 runs at Wantage Road.
Having been put into bat by the Bears, Northants made a flying start with Richard Levi and Paul Stirling taking 36 from the first three overs. As is often the case, the introduction of Jeetan Patel brought about the first wicket as Stirling was caught by Bresnan for 14.
Levi launched four sixes in his 35 from 18 balls but he fell in the final over of the powerplay to a fine catch from Sam Hain off Henry Brookes. Northants made 66-2 from the six overs of fielding restrictions.
The seventh over was the first quiet over of the innings and left arm leg spinner Jake Lintott picked up the key wicket of Josh Cobb who made just one, spooning a catch to Ian Bell.
The Bears continued to keep things tight, restricting Northants to just 24 runs in five overs to leave them 83-3 at the halfway point. The home side then lost Alex Wakely to a cracker from Tim Bresnan as he was bowled for six.
Debutant Bears keeper Vikai Kelley got himself involved in the action with two stumpings in as many overs. Firstly Ricardo Vasconcelos was out to Lintott for 34 and then Gareth Berg went to Jeetan Patel for one. Patel and Lintott’s combined figures were 8 overs, 4-45.
Saif Zaib played a crucial knock in the Steelbacks win here on Sunday and once again added valuable late runs. He made 30 before being dismissed LBW to Olly Stone.
Graeme White & Nathan Buck both struck maximums in the final over of the Steelbacks to take them to a final total of 158-7.
After a decent start for the Bears, the fourth over bowled by Nathan Buck proved to be a crucial one. He removed Ian Bell for 13 and danger man Ed Pollock for 8 as he produced a double wicket maiden to leave the Bears 26-2 after four overs.
It was a tough evening for Hain who made just two in 10 balls before going to Ben Sanderson. The visitors limped to 29-3 off the powerplay.
With the ball beginning to turn, Graeme White took two wickets in quick succession dismissing both Adam Hose & Will Rhodes clean bowled with deliveries that both spun sharply. The Bears were reeling at 38-5 in the 9th over.
Bresnan and Lintott took the score to 68 before Northants took another wicket with Lintott caught behind off Glover for 12.
Bresnan made 28 and was caught off Gareth Berg before Stone was out to leave the Bears 103-8 with three overs remaining.
Two wickets in the final over for Ben Sanderson meant he finished with figures of 3-11 as the Bears were all out for 119.