Sports

Alex Davies leads Birmingham Bears to comfortable win over Durham

Birmingham Bears 142 for 4 (Davies 49) beat Durham 141 for 7 (Raine 51*, Miles 3-29) by six wickets

Birmingham Bears eased past Durham in their Vitality Blast clash at Seat Unique Riverside by six wickets, securing their fifth win of the season to strengthen their position in the North Group.

Alex Davies led the way for the visitors with a knock of 49 to provide the anchor for their chase of 142, which they managed comfortably with 12 balls to spare as Adam Hose played a useful cameo to see the Bears over the line.
Durham were made to rue a poor start with the bat that limited their ability to set an imposing total. A half-century from Ben Raine papered over the cracks as Craig Miles claimed 3 for 29 to play a significant role in deciding the outcome of the contest.

After opting to bat first on home soil, Durham lost a wicket in the first over when Hose connected with a direct hit from mid-on to remove the dangerous Graham Clark for only 2. Ollie Robinson and Michael Jones fell cheaply too, with both men being caught on the fence as Miles and Carlos Brathwaite struck in the powerplay.

The early wickets put the hosts well and truly on the back foot, mustering only 28 runs from the opening six overs. David Bedingham then continued the procession of batters back to the pavilion as Sam Hain took a fine catch running in from long-on to hand Danny Briggs his only wicket, reducing Durham to 36 for 4.

Ned Eckersley and Raine led a fightback, taking Briggs’ next over for 16, including a six each down the ground. The partnership reached 36 before Olly Stone produced a snorting bouncer that Eckersley could only fend behind to Davies. Raine held the Durham innings together and was the only batter to look comfortable, scoring a half-century from 32 balls, striking three sixes. But, Miles and Stone were on point to limit the home side to 141 for 7 from their 20 overs, with the former taking 3 for 29.

The Bears were dealt a blow from the off as Paul Stirling fell for a golden duck, for the second game in a row, playing on to a delivery from Paul Coughlin. Despite the setback, Davies and Jacob Bethell settled into the run chase, keeping the required rate below seven runs per over, scoring timely boundaries to put the home side on the back foot.

The Bears, in contrast to Durham, reached 47 for 1 at the end of the powerplay, and the introduction of spin allowed Davies to propel the scoring rate taking 12 off Scott Borthwick’s first over. Raine ended the stand for the second wicket at 73 by bowling Bethell for 21, while Hain endured a tough spell in the middle scoring 10 off 14 before being removed by AJ Tye.

Davies fell short of a deserved half-century, missing a straight delivery from Raine to give the hosts a glimmer of hope. Hose dispelled the notion of a late wobble from the visitors with a quick-fire 28 from 16 balls alongside Chris Benjamin, who struck Brydon Carse for three straight fours in the 18th over before knocking off the winning runs.


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