Bears start T20 campaign well with wins over Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire - The Solihull Observer

Bears start T20 campaign well with wins over Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire

Solihull Editorial 10th Jul, 2017 Updated: 10th Jul, 2017   0

CRICKET: A GUT-WRENCHING injury to Nottinghamshire bowler Luke Fletcher overshadowed Friday night’s NatwestT20Blast fixture at Edgbaston between the Bears and the Outlaws.

The fast-bowler was taken to hospital in an ambulance after being struck on the head early in Birmingham’s reply to Outlaws’ 158/6.

Fletcher’s first ball was driven ferociously straight back by Sam Hain – and his strike struck the 28-year-old directly on the head in his follow-through.

Fletcher was soon on his feet, but was helped from the field and, after initial treatment at the ground, taken to hospital.

One of the most popular players in county cricket, Fletcher was given the warmest of ovations from the 9,000 crowd and, typically, waved in acknowledgement.

But with the players visibly concerned, the decision was taken to halt the game.

After half an hour, it was agreed to resume and the Notts players were warmly applauded back onto the field.

They fought brilliantly to defend their below-par total and almost succeeded, but most thoughts were with Fletcher who, encouragingly, was photographed giving a double thumbs-up to a camera from the back of the ambulance.

Put in, Nottinghamshire were troubled by the spin of Jeetan Patel – but recovered from 28/3 to total 158 after Samit Patel hit a classy 55 from just 33 balls while Steven Mullaney added 46 to the cause.

In reply, Birmingham started strongly as Ian Bell and Hain hit 30 from three overs before the game was halted in light of Fletcher’s injury.

After the resumption, Hain soon sliced Harry Gurney to point and Porterfield (20) ran himself out before Bell (47) lifted a reverse-sweep at Patel to Lumb at short third man.

Birmingham required 40 from the last five overs, and Grant Elliott and Rikki Clarke took 15 off the first of them.

Elliott’s 38 from just 22 balls saw his side to the brink of a victory, but Notts dug deep and five runs from the last over, bowled by Christian, came down to one from the last ball, from which Colin De Grandhomme and Clarke scrambled the relevant single.

Friday night’s win added to Birmingham’s win from the night before against local rivals Worcestershire.

Skipper Ian Bell returned from injury to hit a 39-ball half century to lead Birmingham Bears to a crushing eight wicket win against the Rapids.

Rapids were restricted to 152-9 from their 20 overs while in reply Bell teamed up with Hain to put the game beyond doubt as Birmingham won comfortably.

Picture: Manjit Narotra. 

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