Birmingham Bears v Yorkshire Vikings
Vitality Blast, North Group
Saturday May 20, 2023, 6.30pm
Teams – Birmingham: Rob Yates, Paul Stirling, Alex Davies c, Sam Hain, Chris Benjamin, Dan Mousley, Chris Woakes, Henry Brookes, Craig Miles, Danny Briggs, Jake Lintott.
Yorkshire: Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow w, Shan Masood c, Will Fraine, Matthew Revis, Ben Mike, Jordan Thompson, Dom Bess, Jafer Chohan, Dom Leech.
Toss: Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bowl
Match summary: Yorkshire were unable to take advantage of a super start with the ball as Birmingham battled back from 51-4 to post 200-6 and win the main event at Blast Off by 34 runs. Sam Hain’s fabulous 83 not out was the key performance for the Bears, who then reduced their visitors to 34-5 and 166 all out. Opener Dawid Malan top-scored with 43 off 29 balls for the Vikings, while Dom Bess also finished 42 not out and Jafer Chohan added 37 on debut.
Report: The Vikings will reflect on a being unable to sustain their great start with the ball as England hopeful Hain blasted four sixes and seven fours in a 45-ball unbeaten 83, sharing a 97-run stand with Chris Benjamin, 46 for the fourth wicket.
Matthew Revis was the standout bowler with 2-25 for a Yorkshire attack who came under increasing pressure.
Hain was dropped high on 21 by Dawid Malan at cover off Ben Mike’s bowling and took advantage in grand style.
Yorkshire made a fantastic start by striking three times in the first five overs and four times in the first eight, leaving the Bears in trouble at 51-4. Mike, Revis, Jordan Thompson and Dom Bess all struck in their first over, including Revis forcing dangerous Ireland opener Paul Stirling to chop on for only 10.
Unfortunately, Birmingham’s recovery then left Yorkshire with a mountain to climb despite good batting conditions – a true pitch, a short boundary and a fast outfield.
And the pressure was ramped up when they slipped to 34-5 after six overs as seamer Henry Brookes struck twice, including getting England’s Jonny Bairstow caught behind for seven in his likely final county appearance before the Ashes.
Bairstow’s England team-mate Chris Woakes also struck twice with the new ball. One of those was captain Shan Masood chopping onto his stumps for five.
Malan, Dom Bess 42 not out – a career best score – and debutant leg-spinner Chohan were the only three batters to reach 20, with the latter crashing 37 off 20 balls with three sixes.
Malan and Bess shared 38 for the eighth wicket from 66-7 after 10 overs. But it was nothing more than a consolatory partnership.
Bess and Chohan then shared 62 for the ninth wicket, a Yorkshire record for that wicket, with 100 runs added for the last three wickets to importantly limit the damage of net run-rate.
Both hit big sixes, with Chohan, who had earlier bowled two overs of leg-spin nought for 22, hitting back-to-back leg-side maximums off Woakes in one over.
Brookes finished with 4-32 from 3.5 overs.
Magic moment: Revis forcing Stirling to chop onto his stumps in the fourth over, leaving Birmingham 30-2. The pick of Yorkshire’s bowlers had a chastening day on this ground at Finals Day last July when Lancashire’s Phil Salt got hold of him in a semi-final defeat. So an impressive performance back at the scene of the crime, so to speak, was significant for a young and developing player.
Turning point: Hain and Benjamin shared 97 inside eight overs to recover the Birmingham score from 51-4 in the eighth over, first laying a platform and then putting their foot on the accelerator.
Stat of the match: Ten of Birmingham’s 20 overs with the bat went for double-figure scores, advancing the Bears cause and hurting the Vikings badly after a brilliant start with the ball.
What they said – Coach Ottis Gibson: “Win the toss and decide to bowl, and the first 10 overs was excellent. We got off to a really start with the ball, had a good powerplay and got wickets.
“Last year, Birmingham scored the most 200 totals in the competition, so they bat deep. A really good partnership between Hain and Benjamin took the game away from us.
“When they started with the ball, Chris Woakes put the ball in a really good area and caused problems for us. We just lost our way with the bat.
“But it was great to see us fight all the way to the end with the bat. It shows we have a lot of capable players in our team. It’s a bad result, but it’s not the end of the world. I think we’ll get better from this.
“Run-rate might come into it later in the tournament, and it was good to see Bessy get his best T20 score and also the way Jafer. In a game like this, I think Jafer’s had a really good debut. I thought he bowled well and then showed what he can do with the bat.”
What’s next: The Vikings have just played the first of back-to-back away games to start the North Group. They travel to New Road on Friday to face Worcestershire Rapids (5.30pm).
Blast Off: Lancashire won the first game of the day against Derbyshire, chasing 180 to with four wickets in hand and as many balls to spare. Opener Luke Wells hit 66 for the Lightning.