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Big match Preview: Birmingham Bears v Yorkshire Vikings

— 7 July 2018

Andrew Gale admits Yorkshire’s Headband Warrior has given him a welcome headache.

Jack Brooks made a standout return to Yorkshire’s T20 fold in Thursday’s Vitality Blast win over Durham at Emerald Headingley, taking 3-21 from four overs.

It was the seamer’s first 20-over career appearance for a little over three years.

In fact, since the start of 2015, he has only played seven games with the white ball for Yorkshire – three in the Blast, including Thursday, and four in 50-over cricket.

Coach Gale says a major reason for the 34-year-old’s absence has been the jam-packed county schedule, but now things are a little easier to manage with a player who has a T20 five-for to his name.

Brooks will bid to help the Vikings continue their winning start to the Blast tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Edgbaston to take on last year’s beaten finalists Birmingham Bears (2.30pm).

  • “Brooksy’s been wanting to play more white ball cricket, but with his workloads in Championship cricket and stuff it’s been difficult for us,” explained Gale.

    “There’s been a few ahead of him in the pecking order as well. But we gave him an opportunity against Durham and he took it.

    “He has been badgering me for games, and it’s about getting that balance right.

    “We need him to play as many Championship games as possible because he’s a real asset in that format.

    “With the way the scheduling is, it’s probably better for him now. He does get a bit of rest from Championship cricket, allowing him to play in the T20s.

    “And he’s given us another headache now, which is great.”

    Gale has also praised the Oxford-born former England Lion for his ability to evolve as a bowler.

    “His white ball skills looked to have improved in training, although you never quite know until you see it out in a game,” he said.

    “We have worked hard on his slower balls, and you saw that he wasn’t frightened of bowling a few bumpers. He’s tried to add that to his game, be a bit more aggressive.”

    Birmingham have an impressive recent record in this competition – winners in 2014 and reached Finals Day in 2015 and 2017.

    The Bears were beaten in last year’s final at Edgbaston by Nottinghamshire, although they gained revenge on Wednesday at Trent Bridge with a thumping opening night victory.

    They have played twice after facing, and losing to, neighbours Worcestershire Rapids at New Road on Friday.

    Captained by ex-New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott, playing on a Kolpak contract, their two overseas players are also Kiwi all-rounders in Jeetan Patel and Colin de Grandhomme.

    Former Yorkshire youngster Will Rhodes is enjoying a productive first summer with the county having moved from Headingley in the winter.

    “They’re a good team and had an impressive win on TV the other night at Notts,” added Gale. “But you know in T20 cricket that anybody’s dangerous.

    “One man can win you a game. If you’re not quite at the races, you’ll come out with a loss.

    “T20, as we know, is a game of confidence and momentum. We have both. We just need to keep it going.”

    Meanwhile, Yorkshire say they have no plans to alter the date or timing of Wednesday’s home Blast tie with Derbyshire at Headingley (6.30pm) despite a clash with England’s World Cup football semi-final should they beat Sweden.

    Team News

    Tom Kohler-Cadmore will face a late fitness test tomorrow after suffering an injury to his back during the opening Vitality Blast game on Thursday night.

    Andrew Hodd is added to the squad as batting cover, with Josh Shaw making way in the 13.

    Yorkshire’s England contingent will be locked in action in the third and final Vitality IT20 and will therefore be unavailable.

    13-man squad to face Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston

    Gary Ballance
    Tim Bresnan
    Harry Brook
    Jack Brooks
    Ben Coad
    Matthew Fisher
    Andrew Hodd
    Tom Kohler-Cadmore
    Jack Leaning
    Adam Lyth
    Steven Patterson (Captain)
    Azeem Rafiq
    Jonny Tattersall (Wicketkeeper).

    Match Statistics

    • Yorkshire have never won a T20 match away to Warwickshire or Birmingham Bears. Of the six scheduled games two were lost, two were abandoned and two finished as a ‘no result’.
    • In the ten T20 games which have taken place between these two teams all of the scores have been between 120 and 180.
    • No batsman from either side has made a half-century in any T20 match at Edgbaston between these two teams.
    • Two Birmingham/Warwickshire bowlers have taken four wickets in an innings but no one has

    Potential batting milestones

    C de Grandhomme needs 40 runs to reach 2500 runs in Twenty20 matches
    SR Hain needs 56 runs to reach 1000 runs in Twenty20 matches TT Bresnan needs 88 runs to reach 1500 runs in Twenty20 matches
    AJ Hodd needs 100 runs to reach 500 runs in Twenty20 matches
    A Lyth needs 115 runs to reach 2000 runs in Twenty20 matches KHD Barker needs 117 runs to reach 500 runs in Twenty20 matches
    JS Patel needs 130 runs to reach 500 runs in Twenty20 matches

    Potential bowling milestones

    JS Patel needs 2 wickets to reach 200 wickets in Twenty20 matches
    GD Elliott needs 6 wickets to reach 100 wickets in Twenty20 matches
    Azeem Rafiq needs 6 wickets to reach 100 wickets in Twenty20 matches
    JA Brooks needs 9 wickets to reach 50 wickets in Twenty20 matches

    The opposition

    • T20 record: Winners 2014, Runners-up 2003 and 2017. Semi-finalists 2015.
    • Last season: Third (North Group)
    • Captain: Grant Elliott
    • Overseas Players: Jeetan Patel and Colin de Grandhomme.
    • Kolpak: Grant Elliott
  • Big hitter

    Colin de Grandhomme – the Black Caps star arrived in Birmingham with the best T20 batting strike-rate in the world and soon became a cult hero in the Second City. He hits the ball very hard and very far and has left more than one bowler, having bowled a perfectly decent ball, pondering: “How on earth did he get that for six?”

  • Key bowler

    Jeetan Patel – Off-spinner Jeetan Patel is the bowler who binds it all together for the Bears. Now approaching a decade at Edgbaston, “Jeets” intelligent bowling is a familiar weapon to opposing batsmen – but not many have fathomed how to whack it.

  • Wild card

    Ed Pollock – Was an unknown quantity when pitched in for his Blast debut last season but is extremely well-known now after making a brilliant impact with his aggressive batting. Pollock’s blazing strokes from ball one laid the foundation for victory in several huge games for Birmingham on their way to the final.