<
>

De Grandhomme lives up to big-hitting reputation

Birmingham 197 for 4 (Pollock 66, de Grandhomme 65*) beat Derbyshire 177 for 9 (Elliott 4-37, Barker 3-33) 20 runs

Birmingham Bears stars Colin de Grandhomme and Grant Elliott produced fine displays to beat the Derbyshire Falcons by 20 runs in an entertaining NatWest Blast match at Edgbaston.

De Grandhomme went into the tournament with the reputation as holder of the fastest scoring rate in Twenty20 and finally he made someone suffer.

Having been invited to bat, Birmingham got off to an excellent start in the Powerplay overs at 49 for 0, with Ed Pollack hitting two huge sixes off Hardus Viljoen and Derbyshire's overseas player Imran Tahir.

Debutant Pollack brought up his 50 off just 31 balls as the Bears threatened to cut loose, and he made it a century partnership with fellow opener Sam Hain in the 12th over of the match.

The partnership was broken just two balls later as Wayne Madsen continued to take wickets in the competition, having Hain caught by Tahir at short third-man for 34. The wicket saw New Zealand international De Grandhomme promoted to No 3 in the order.

Pollack eventually fell to a smart catch by Matt Henry off Viljoen for an explosive 66 off 40 balls as the Falcons hoped to get a grip on the game and drag back the run-rate.

De Grandhomme took on the role of enforcer while new man at the crease Ian Bell anchored proceedings before losing his wicket thanks to a stunning one-handed catch from Henry at deep long-on.

That failed to slow down De Grandhomme, however, as he raced to his half-century off just 22 balls, finishing the innings in style along with Ireland captain William Porterfield, who was run out off the last ball for 20.

De Grandhomme finished unbeaten on 65, with the Bears reaching 197 for 4 in their 20 overs.

The Falcons' reply began with the early loss of skipper Billy Godleman caught behind by Alex Mellor off Keith Barker, but Matt Critchley and Luis Reece launched a brief counter-attack for the Falcons.

Critchley's bright innings was brought to an end on 17 when Barker's low full toss was miscued to De Grandhomme at cover, to earn the left-arm seamer his second wicket of the afternoon. At the end of the Powerplay, Derbyshire were ahead of the Bears on 59 for two.

Madsen - the leading run-scorer in the T20 Blast this season - soon entered the fray and began to build with Reese, as the Falcons floated around the required run-rate.

Wickets were the key component for both sides, and it was the Bears that continued to chip away as Patel bowled Reece, before Falcons captain Gary Wilson was tamely caught at short third-man off Elliott as Birmingham turned the screw.

The loss of Madsen for 16, caught by Hain running in from deep cover off Elliott, dealt a huge blow to the Falcons, and it looked desperate once Alex Hughes went for 25, caught behind off the glove.

With the run-rate increasing, the comical run-out of Calum Brodrick by Hain effectively ended the Falcons' chase and there was a fourth wicket for former New Zealand international Elliott as his fellow countryman Henry holed out at deep midwicket.

Barker got his third wicket of the game, bowling Viljoen around his legs as the Falcons finished on 177 for 9 to lose by 20 runs.