Bowlers have no answer as Bears prove too strong for Steelbacks
An opening stand of 180 from Sam Hain and William Porterfield powered Birmignham Bears to an eight-wicket Royal London One-Day Cup victory over Northants Steelbacks at Edgbaston.
Northants posted a solid total of 254 for nine thanks to skipper Alex Wakely (70, 74 balls, five fours, two sixes), Josh Cobb (50, 59 balls, four four, two sixes) and Ben Duckett (46, 55 balls, three fours), fresh from his double century heroics for the England Lions.
But Warwickshire, who suffered a pre-match blow when Jonathan Trott was ruled out after hurting his back in the warm-ups, made short work of the chase thanks largely to Hain (88, 108 balls, six fours, one six) and Porterfield (92, 112 balls, 11 fours).
The Bears headed straight off north in good heart for Wednesday’s game in Durham, while the Steelbacks need to bounce back against Worcestershire at New Road.
After the visitors endured more misfortune with the toss (they have lost it in all six RL Cup games this season) they were put in and started well, passing 100 for just one wicket in the 20th over with partnerships of 48 in eight overs between Cobb and Adam Rosssington and 55 in 13 between Cobb and Duckett.
But they were pegged back by three wickets in 29 balls.
Cobb embarked on a single that wasn’t there and was calmly run out by Tim Ambrose before Jeetan Patel struck twice in three balls.
Duckett, fresh from that 220 not out for England Lions against Sri Lanka A, edged behind and Rob Keogh followed his 134 against Durham with a second-ball duck as he fired a return catch back to the spinner.
Wickets continued to fall as Rob Newton was superbly held by Hain at deep square, Steven Crook chipped a sitter to mid-off and Rory Kleinveldt holed out.
Wakely reached a 57-ball half-century with a six but after he top-edged Olly Hannon-Dalby to short third-man, the innings subsided quickly.
The total looked a little under par on a good batting track and Porterfield and Hain started purposefully by hitting five fours in the third over, from Kleinveldt.
The openers paced the pursuit perfectly and were within ten runs of setting a new Warwickshire limited-overs record opening stand when a total mix-up brought the run out of Porterfield eight runs short of his tenth List A ton.
Hain was trapped in the crease by Mohhammed Azharullah and fell lbw but Laurie Evans (43 not out, 51 balls, six fours) saw his side comfortably home with 12 balls to spare.
Scores - Royal London One Day Cup, Birmingham Bears v Northants Steelbacks (Bears won the toss)
Northants Steelbacks: 254-9 (50 overs, Alex Wakely 70, Josh Cobb 50, Ben Duckett 46, Clarke 2-40, Patel 2-50, Gordon 2-58)
Birmingham Bears: 257-2 (48 overs, Porterfield 92, Hain 88, Evans 43no)
Bears won by eight wickets