Deputy Editor Oscar Frost reports on the Birmingham Bears’ quarter final exit at the hands of Essex at Edgbaston.
It was pure theatre as the Birmingham Bears lost an absolute nail-biter in their Blast quarter final against Essex by two wickets.
This brought their Vitality Blast campaign to an end at the quarter final stage for the third season in a row, despite finishing top of their group prior to the knockout stages.
A Shane Snater six finished the Bears off as the visitors needed two from the final two balls to book their place in the next round.
Ultimately, the Bears fell about ten runs short of a total that would have been par for the course.
The Bears’ batting was somewhat salvaged by Sam Hain, who carried the Bears to 167. His 52 runs were hugely important for the Bears, steadying the ship for a late innings charge from the tail end.
Chris Benjamin and Dominic Drakes also came up with useful runs, scoring 24 and 23 respectively. Although the final run rate was only 8.3, it was a defendable total given the poor start from the Bears.
A strong start from Essex, however, meant that it was an uphill climb for the home side throughout the second inning. Scoring basically 20 more runs in the powerplay put the visitors in the driving seat.
Despite dismissing Adam Rossington and Feroze Khushi in two balls, the Bears could not quite dislodge Dan Lawrence. Lawrence went on to score 62 runs to spearhead the Essex chase.
With Essex on 103-3 at the halfway stage, they were truly motoring. Paul Walter scored an explosive 27 off 15 balls to keep the wheels turning, putting the visitors in a very strong position.
The visitors did bowl well, keeping the Bears on their toes and taking wickets throughout the first inning. Essex used a total of eight bowlers in the inning, which is somewhat of a testament to the depth in their bowling attack. The fact that six of these took wickets really shows how there was not really a standout bowler, besides Sam Cook’s two wickets and 6.00 economy.
Essex won the toss and decided to bowl first, which seemed a good choice as Rob Yates was dismissed without scoring. This was then converted into a wicket maiden by Daniel Sams.
The second wicket was controversial to say the least, with Alex Davies being given out after a review saw a flat line on ultra edge. Allegedly, the technology was not working, and the visible deviation of the ball was enough cause for the third umpire to reverse the decision on the field.
Despite the early turmoil for the Bears, Glenn Maxwell was able to somewhat steady the ship. Smashing his way to 35 runs, the Aussie showed why he is a worthwhile overseas pick once again.
Despite some flair reverse sweeping, Dan Mousley was also dismissed before the midway point. With the run rate below 8.0, the Bears certainly had some scoring to do. Sitting at 90-5 after 12 overs, the inning was on a knife edge for the home side in the quarter final.
The close finish only made the loss more painful for the Bears fans, as the side crashed out once again at the quarter final stage.
Does this prompt questions about whether the group toppers should be given a bye to finals day? A heartbroken Bears fan would certainly say yes.
Check out these latest sports articles here: