Sports Editor Oscar Frost reports on the opening match of the Birmingham Bears’ campaign against the Yorkshire Vikings in the Vitality Blast
The Birmingham Bears took on the Yorkshire Vikings in their first Vitality Blast fixture of the 2023 season. The Bears won by 34 runs, bowling their opponents for 166, after scoring 200 themselves.
Despite a rocky start, the Bears were able to finish on 200 after their 20 overs. This was the highest score of the day at Edgbaston, giving them a great chance of winning the match.
The Bears were able to score over 200 runs in half of their Vitality Blast matches last year, and it seems that they are on their way to match or better that record this year.
The partnership between Sam Hain and Chris Benjamin brought the Bears back into the affair, as they combined for a 98 run partnership. They put the pressure on the Yorkshire fielding outfit to completely flip the flow of the game.
Hain pushed on to top score the Bears, finishing on 83 runs from just 45 balls. This swashbuckling performance comes in the wake of some successful innings for Warwickshire in the LV= County Championship.
It was not the start to the campaign that the Bears wanted with the bat, as they faltered to 51-4 after 7.3 overs. The home side simply could not build a partnership at the top of the order, putting more pressure on the middle batters to produce some scores to salvage a defendable total.
Chris Woakes took the wicket of Adam Lyth early on in the Yorkshire innings to reduce the visitors to 2-1. With the firepower of Lyth, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow, however, the Bears would need more than a single wicket to be sure of a foothold.
More wickets is exactly what they did, though, as Shan Masood, Bairstow and Will Fraine were dismissed in quick succession. This left Yorkshire on 20-4 and in a tricky position in the match.
The Yorkshire middle order failed to have much more success, as the visitors caved in to 67-7 at the halfway point.
Despite Malan standing strong for three-quarters of the innings, he was eventually dismissed LBW for 43 runs. As this reduced the visitors to 104-8, that was the nail in the coffin.
Yorkshire did have a late resurgence from Dom Bess (42*) and Jafer Chohan (37), but that was not quite enough to make up the deficit.
Henry Brookes took two last-minute wickets to bring his total to four for the day. He will now start his next spell on a hat-trick, having bowled out two batters in the final two balls of this affair.
The Bears travel to Leicestershire next on the 26th May to try and continue their winning form.
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