Birmingham 141 for 4 (Hose 38) Glamorgan 140 for 9 (Cooke 72, Bresnan 3-33)
Birmingham Bears claimed their first win of this year’s Vitality Blast with seven balls to spare, but Glamorgan were left to rue the fact that no one supported their captain Chris Cooke, who made 72 in a disappointing total of 140 for 9.
The Bears’ batsmen showed a more disciplined approach, with all their top order playing useful innings – this after their five-man attack had restricted the home batsmen to a below-par score.
Chasing a moderate 141 to win, the Bears lost an early wicket when Prem Sisodiya, Glamorgan’s left-arm spinner dismissed Ed Pollock with his second ball, but Adam Hose soon made his intentions clear, by striking Andrew Salter for four then lofting the offspinner over long-on for six.
After he was dropped in the gully on 14, Hose continued to play freely on both sides of the wicket, and with the 38-year-old Ian Bell in his usual sublime form, the second wicket pair continued to dominate. They had put on 64 in 8.2 overs, before Glamorgan made the next breakthrough, when Marchant de Lange bowled Hose. In the following over, Bell was mortified to see a long hop from Salter end up in deep midwicket’s hands.
The Bears were well placed at the halfway stage, and with five overs remaining needed a further 35 to win – but after losing Will Rhodes for 16, the run rate increased and 18 were needed from the final two overs. But Timm van der Gugten delivered the penultimate over and was plundered for 22 runs by Sam Hain and Michael Burgess, including a six from a no-ball to end the game.
Glamorgan, who elected to bat, were soon in trouble, losing their first wicket to Olly Stone’s first ball – the seventh of the innings – and at the end of the first Powerplay were 45 for 3. Stone, in only his second competitive game of the season, bowled within himself, and claimed two wickets in the innings.
Cooke had rescued his team in the previous game, top-scoring with an unbeaten half-century, and much depended on him if Glamorgan were to set the opposition a challenging total. While his team-mates found ways of getting themselves out – two were caught on the midwicket boundary – Cooke was selective in his shot selection.
Jacob Lintott, a left-arm spinner who had played only four previous T20 games with Hampshire, and was making his Bears debut, made the most of a slow pitch with some turn, and ended with the excellent figures of 4-0-13-1.
Jeetan Patel, the veteran offspinner in his final season, wasn’t so effective, conceding 36 runs, including two sixes, but the other Bears bowlers stuck to their task, while their fielders gave little away.
Cooke continued to plunder the attack, and when he was out in the final over, he had struck 72 from 56 balls, which included three sixes and five fours. Such was his dominance, no other Glamorgan batsman, apart from Dan Douthwaite with 15, reached double-figures.
Batting has been Glamorgan’s problem this season, and in this competition they will miss Colin Ingram, who is stranded in South Africa, and their influential allrounder David Lloyd, who has broken his foot.