Birmingham Bears won their fourth successive match in the Vitality Blast with a comfortable 35 run win over Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Having been put into bat by Leicestershire, the Bears had reached 18 in the 3rd over before Ed Pollock was well caught by Ed Barnes off Naveen-ul-Haq for 8.
Naveen picked up his second wicket as Pieter Malan dragged a short delivery to mid on to depart for 22. The Bears finished the powerplay overs on 42-2.
Will Rhodes & Sam Hain batted sensibly before going after Foxes captain Colin Ackermann, both hitting maximums as 18 came from his second over. The Bears reached halfway on 81-2.
Bears captain Rhodes moved to a 31- ball 50 as he tucked into Leicestershire’s spinners, taking 13 off a Callum Parkinson over and then 20 off an over from Aaron Lilley.
Rhodes’ assault on the Leicestershire attack ended on 79 when he was caught on the boundary off Parkinson. The Foxes picked up another wicket soon after when a smart catch on the boundary, by Lewis Hill, removed Hain for 45.
Ben Mike removed the dangerous Carlos Brathwaite for 9, but it was Naveen who stole the show with a superb 19th over to end with figures of 2-20 from his 4 overs.
Mike picked up two more wickets in the final over of the innings, meaning he finished with 4-22 from just 2 overs. Birmingham Bears finished 190-7 from their 20 overs.
The Leicestershire reply got off to a dramatic start, with Josh Inglis hitting two boundaries in the opening over before being bowled by Danny Briggs for 8.
Briggs was rewarded with a second over and removed Lilley, who was smartly stumped at 35-2.
Tim Bresnan picked up the prize wicket of Ackermann for 9, as Leicestershire ended the powerplay on 48-3.
A sensible partnership between Scott Steel and Rishi Patel kept the Foxes in touch with the chase. They reached 77-3 at the halfway point.
The two took to the score to 99 at the start of the 13th over, before Brathwaite removed Patel for 30 with his first ball back into the attack.
With the required rate rising, the Bears expertly shut down any chance of a Leicestershire revival. When Steel was stumped for 46 at 110-5, the game was over.
A calamitous run out of Louis Kimber followed soon after before two great pieces of fielding, firstly from Dan Mousley to remove Mike and then Brathwaite who held a great catch to see the back of Parkinson, saw Leicestershire slump to 135-8.
The Foxes fell to their fifth successive defeat, bowled out for 155 off the final ball of the innings. Bresnan dismissed Ed Barnes for 7 to end with 3-29 from his four overs.
The Bears were winners by 35 runs, making it four wins from five in the group stage.
Bears skipper and top scorer Will Rhodes said:
“I think I’ve owed the lads a performance like that. I’ve had a fairly bleak three or four months with the bat and to hit a few over the ropes is really pleasing.
“We are pretty happy batting first and then restricting the opposition. With the bowling unit we’ve got, we back ourselves to defend any total. Danny Briggs is making a habit of taking a wicket in the first over and long may that continue.
“Sam has been so consistent the last few years, he knows his white ball game inside out and fair play to him, he has broken Ian Bell’s record now and he has a lot more runs to come.
“Four wins from five games on the road is more than we could have asked for and to be top of the league at this stage is where we want to be.”