Warwickshire Bears beat Glamorgan Dragons by four runs
A remarkable fightback by Warwickshire sustained their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup after a breathless four-run victory over Glamorgan at Edgbaston last night.
All had seemed lost for the Bears. Glamorgan, with seven wickets in hand, required only 23 runs from the final 28 balls of the innings to sentence the home side to an early exit from the competition.
But the loss of six wickets for the addition of only 17 runs in 20 balls turned this match on its head and set up an intriguing contest against Worcestershire this evening. Given good weather, a crowd of more than 15,000 is expected at Edgbaston to watch what amounts to a knock-out local derby.
It is in adversity that team spirit is most apparent, and it was surely Warwickshire's greater team unity that proved decisive here. While their opponents lost their heads under pressure, Warwickshire held their nerve with the ball and in the field.
This was a performance worthy of the Warwickshire one-day teams of the mid-1990s; teams who didn't know when they were beaten, teams who knew how to prey on opposition frailty and teams that were utterly committed to one another and the cause.
As so often before, it was that man Dougie Brown who hastened the collapse. Summoning all his experience and delivering a mean line and length, he was the catalyst for Glamorgan's subsidence.
Bayed on by an enthusiastic-crowd of about 7,000, he ended David Hemp's marvellously aggressive innings (19 balls, four sixes and two fours) and, in partnership with Neil Carter, squeezed a side that needed only to retain its composure to complete the victory they had, until that point, utterly deserved.
There was no need for Hemp's heave across the line that sent a skied catch to the nerveless Jonathan Trott, just as there was no need for the succession of swipes and smears that saw the lowerorder dismissed within a few minutes of madness.
With 11 required from the final over, Heath Streak produced a masterclass in bowling at the death. All six balls were delivered in the blockhole and, with James Anyon producing a desperate, diving save at third man to prevent a boundary and run out Michael Powell off the fifth ball, the hosts required six from the final one. Streak was never going to allow that.
Anyon did not enjoy the best match with the ball but there was something about the way the 22-year-old held himself together in the field and the calmness of his batting that suggests the character of a winner. He has a bright future.
For all Warwickshire's resilience, however, this was a match that Glamorgan threw away. Their performance bore all the hallmarks of a side that has become accustomed to losing. The brittle batting collapsed in a way that only a side devoid of any self-confidence can and the spineless way they imploded exposed a crushing lack of belief.
For victory was theirs. At 147 for three in the 17th over, this game was all but over.
Fed by some poorlydirected bowling from Dewald Pretorius, a second-wicket partnership of 80 in eight overs between Matthew Elliott (32 balls, five fours and two sixes) and Sourav Ganguly (26 balls, three fours and a six) appeared to have put them well on course, before an explosive innings from former Warwickshire player Hemp took them to the very brink of victory.
Earlier, Warwickshire overcame a slow start to set the visitors a competitive total. The top order failed to thrive against accurate seam bowling from David Harrison, but a maiden competition half- century from Jim Troughton ensured his side had something to defend.
Troughton (35 balls, five fours and two sixes) made full use of a short boundary towards the Eric Hollies Stand, reverse-sweeping a six off Dean Cosker and sweeping Robert Croft for another.
Carter (23 balls, three fours and a six) and Brown (11 balls, two fours and two sixes) lent support, but the total only ever appeared average and a calm last-wicket stand of 11 between Stuart Eustace - who enjoyed another decent game with the gloves - and Anyon proved crucial.
Rather than attempting to find the boundary, they contented themselves with survival and the pursuit of singles; they proved to be wise tactics from such inexperienced individuals.