Clydesdale Bank 40 (at Edgbaston): Northamptonshire 209-7 (A J Hall 52 no) v Warwickshire 212-4 (I R Bell 82 no, R Clarke 54 no)
Warwickshire beat Northamptonshire by 6 wkts.
Warwickshire's season continues to bubble along nicely as they launched their one-day programme with a solid six-wicket win over Northamptonshire at Edgbaston.
After a terrific start to the championship campaign, the Bears transferred the winning formula to the 40-over format as Jeetan Patel, Ian Bell and Rikki Clarke powered them to victory in their CB40 opener.
Spin-bowler Patel was the only Warwickshire bowler not to take a wicket but his concession of just 24 runs in eight overs put a decisive brake on the middle third of the Steelbacks’ innings. It was principally his work that restricted them to a moderate 209.
In reply, the Bears still had plenty to do when they slipped to 104 for four. But Bell (82 from 84 balls) and Clarke (54 from 44) snuffed out Northamptonshire’s challenge with a partnership oozing self-belief and elan.
They added an unbroken 113 in 80 balls to secure victory with 21 balls to spare.
On the same pitch used for the Durham championship game, Northamptonshire chose to bat against a Bears side with sufficient strength to leave out Darren Maddy and Neil Carter – all-rounders who would surely walk into any other side in the country.
The Steelbacks started briskly but lost a wicket just as any partnership started to look dangerous. Alex Wakely reached 24 then fell to Keith Barker’s first ball. Kyle Coetzer gathered 44 from 41 balls before leading-edging Barker to extra cover. Stephen Peters’ 22 was ended by Andy Miller’s first senior wicket of the season.
Patel’s accuracy reeled in the scoring rate mid-innings and it was left to Andrew Hall to drag the total over 200 with a pragmatic 52 (56 balls).
Warwickshire soon lost Jonathan Trott, caught at point, but Varun Chopra and Bell added 57 before the former, after an assertive 39 from 52 balls, sent a catch looping up to the wicketkeeper via bat and thigh-pad off James Middlebrook.
When Will Porterfield and Jim Troughton, the latter clearly believing he was caught at midwicket off a bump-ball, fell cheaply the Steelbacks were right back in the match. But Bell, batting with quiet mastery, and Clarke, increasingly confident, simply took control just as, so far this season, at the critical time someone in the Bears’ team always has.