Birmingham Bears made it back-to-back wins in the Vitality Blast as they beat Derbyshire Falcons by 49 runs in front of 7,500 at Edgbaston.
Chasing a hefty 205 for five, the Falcons faltered early with the loss of two wickets in the first nine balls and never threatened from there. They finished on 156 for nine.
Derbyshire Falcons head coach Dominic Cork said: “I think it just shows the gulf between ourselves and some of the sides we are going to come up against.
“There was some bad discipline from some of our bowlers.
“We talked about using the bigger side of the pitch and we didn’t do that and ultimately, when you get them two down, we wanted them three down in the powerplay.
“We were thinking of chasing 160 or 170 and if you are chasing that you win the game and I think that’s where we lost it.
“It is disappointing on the back of the way Ravi Ranpaul bowled. We have got to come back on Friday and get ready again and try to do those disciplines better than we did tonight.”
The Bears’ daunting total owed most to a classy third-wicket partnership of 113 in 65 balls from Sam Hain (85, 61 balls) and Adam Hose (69, 35 balls).
Ashton Agar added a violent 26 (15 balls) as only Ravi Rampaul (three for 21) withstood the onslaught.
The Falcons’ pursuit was then undone by the loss of early wickets, including two careless run outs. Leus du Plooy defied with a brilliant 70 (43 balls) but was alone in his resistance as nobody else in the top seven reached 15.
The Falcons’ defeat, following their victory over Yorkshire in their opening game, means that no team in the North Group won their first two games, though the Bears are the early pace-setters after a washout and two wins.
The Falcons chose to bowl and started well by removing openers Ed Pollock and Michael Burgess in the first 23 balls. Rampaul opened up with two overs for just four runs and the Bears ended the powerplay on only 36 for two but but Hain and Hose first rebuilt carefully then climbed into counter attack.
They reached their half-centuries, Hain from 42 balls, Hose from 26 in the same over from leg-spinner Matt Critchley and Hose smote 69 with three sixes and nine fours before edging Logan Van Beek behind.
Agar hit two of his first six balls into the crowd and helped Hain to add 63 in 27 balls before both fell in Rampaul’s final over. The Falcons’ fans might have wondered why the paceman wasn’t brought back earlier when the Bears’ batsmen began to escape control.
The Falcons soon lost Luis Reece, bowled second-ball by Fidel Edwards, and Wayne Madsen, brilliantly run out by Alex Thompson. du Plooy was immediately on the offensive but, having done for his partner Madsen with a dodgy call, captain Billy Godelman was then run out himself by smart work from Jeetan Patel.
That was 58 for three and, while Du Plooy galloped to 50 from 33 balls, the rest buckled under the pressure of a steepling run-rate required and accurate bowling led by spinners Patel (4-0-17-1) and Agar (4-0-22-1).
Birmingham Bears first-team coach Jim Troughton said: “I am really happy with that performance. “At one stage when we were batting it looked like 165 would be a good total, but the way that Hainy and Hosey played, and then Ashton came in with a great knock, gave us a really good total.
“Then Fidel got us off to a good start again and all the bowlers stuck to their task really well.
“A couple of catches went down, so it was not a perfect display in the field, but I am very happy.
“Hainy came off while we were fielding because he just felt something in his calf, but hopefully it was more cramp than anything else because he did a lot of running between the wickets tonight. “Hopefully he will be ready for Northants in a couple of days.”
THE TURNING POINT - Darren Stevens to Adam Hose. Bears 59 for 2 from 8.3 overs, just starting to recover from a sticky start. Hose slog-sweeps into the crowd to trigger the runfest.
DELIVERY OF THE MATCH - Second ball of the Falcons’ innings; Fidel Edwards rattles Luis Reece’s middle-stump with a yorker.
THE UNSUNG HERO - Ashton Agar smashed 26 from 14 balls then bowled four overs, without conceding a boundary, for 22. Nifty.
WHAT’S NEXT - Both teams face local derbies on Friday when Birmingham Bears visit Northants Steelbacks while Derbyshire Falcons host Notts Outlaws in the big derby at the Pattonair County Ground.