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Vikings lose battle with the Bears

— 9 July 2018

Scorecard

A polished Birmingham Bears bowling display and some brutal hitting from Ed Pollock cost Yorkshire the chance to win their second successive game at the start of the Vitality Blast at Edgbaston.

The Vikings, invited to bat, lost three wickets inside the first five overs and were fighting an uphill battle on the way to a score of 157-7.

They did a decent job through Gary Ballance, whose 79 off 49 balls included six fours and four sixes and represented a career best, while Matthew Fisher added some late impetus with 17 not out off six balls.

But it just wasn’t enough as the Bears flew out of the blocks, with Fisher the unfortunate victim as he conceded 33 off the first over of the chase, the lion’s share of which went to dashing opener Pollock, who finished with 39 off 14 balls.

Birmingham won by eight wickets with 25 balls to spare. Adam Hose and Ian Bell both hit unbeaten fifties.

Yorkshire, who beat Durham at Emerald Headingley on Thursday, have now won one and lost one to the Bears won two, lost one.

Birmingham, last year’s finalists and champions in 2014, had success with pace off the ball.

Seamers Henry Brookes and ex-Tyke Oliver Hannon-Dalby shared five wickets, while spinners Jeetan Patel and Dom Sibley were inexpensive.

Brookes struck twice with the new ball to get the hosts underway, trapping Adam Lyth lbw and getting Harry Brook (20) caught at mid-off. Brook was the only other batsman aside from Ballance to reach 20.

Hannon-Dalby also removed Tom Kohler-Cadmore with the new ball, caught at deep square-leg, before returning at the death to remove Tim Bresnan and Ballance – caught behind off the last ball of the innings – and finish with 3-37 from his four overs.

Ballance came in at 28-2 in the fourth over and hit his quartet of sixes over deep square twice, evading the diving Hose on both occasions, over cover and then straight in the last over.

The Vikings were 71-3 after 10 overs and 97-3 after 15, with Fisher also adding a couple of late leg-side sixes.

But it is a widespread theory across the world that if you lose three wickets inside the six overs of power play in a T20 innings, you will struggle to win. And so it proved here.

The Bears chase started with five wides before Pollock hit Fisher’s next two balls for four and six and followed it with two more sixes and a four later in the over, which also included a no ball.

Pollock hit five fours and three sixes in all before chipping captain Steve Patterson to Jack Brooks, running around from mid-off, as the score fell to 55-1 after four overs.

Fisher then returned in the seventh over and hit back with the wicket on in-form England Lions team-mate Sam Hain, who was smartly caught at long-leg by Bresnan having top-edged a pull.

That left the score at 75-2, but the hosts could stand the loss of a wicket or two given their speedy start and accelerated again through Bell and Hose, who shared an unbroken 83 in 9.1 overs.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire are now in discussions with Derbyshire and the ECB regarding a potential change of date for Wednesday’s Blast game at Headingley in order to avoid a clash with England’s World Cup football semi-final with Croatia.

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