Birmingham 167 for 5 (Hain 65*, Maxwell 47, Parkinson 4-33) beat Leicestershire 166 for 7 (Welch 30, Briggs 3-15) by five wickets
Birmingham Bears maintained their 100% record in the Vitality Blast with a five-wicket victory over Leicestershire Foxes at the Upstonsteel County Ground.
After the Foxes chose to bat, Nick Welch and Sol Budinger provided a punchy start with an opening stand of 49 in five overs but then fell to successive balls. Welch’s middle-stump was plucked out by Chris Woakes before Budinger heaved Dan Mousley to deep midwicket.
Briggs imposed a brake with a skilful spell and bowled Arron Lilley to secure his 240th T20 wicket. Number 241 soon followed when Colin Ackermann sought the crowd at long-on but found only Mousley just inside the rope, much to the disappointment of those in the stand who were jockeying for position in light of the dazzling prize, for any spectator who caught a six, of a ticket to see Tom Jones at the Uptonsteel County Ground on July 15.
It’s not unusual to see Briggs among the wickets in T20 and when his third followed, Wiaan Milder top-edging to short fine leg, the Foxes had stuttered to 106 for 5. Rishi Patel and Rehen Ahmed landed a few blows in a stand of 38 in 21 balls but the Foxes appeared to have come in under par.
The Bears reply raced to 22 from 13 balls before the early charge was halted by the introduction of Parkinson. He bowled Alex Davies and Paul Stirling in his first five balls but Mulder’s first over, which went for 18, returned the initiative to Birmingham and they never relinquished it.
Bowling to Maxwell and Hain when both are in good nick is about as tough as it gets in world T20 and they broke the back of the chase with a stand of 90 in 51 balls. Maxwell lapped Will Davis to short fine leg, but Mousley kept up the impetus with an 11-ball 16 before ladling Parkinson to long leg.
Three balls later, Parkinson had Chris Benjamin caught behind to complete his third T20 four-for, but Hain advanced to a 35-ball half-century and the Bears eased home, Hain striking the winning run to long leg with the Tom Jones ticket still unclaimed.