This is the second time in the space of a week that these two sides have met following Durham’s 22-run victory at the Emirates Riverside. Both sides’ positions towards the top of a competitive North Group table, means the stakes are heightened for this return leg.
Hosts Birmingham enjoyed a fruitful start to the Blast, amassing four wins from their opening five games, but have since lost their way somewhat. They come into this following back-to-back defeats, the first of which was that aforementioned loss in Chester-le-Street, before they were downed by Derbyshire at Edgbaston. The Bears’ previously explosive batting experienced another failure to fire against the Falcons, as they fell to 97 for 6, before their eventual total of 167 for 9 was overhauled by the visitors with five balls to spare.
Durham were crushed by nine wickets at home to Northamptonshire on Wednesday, but prior to that had been in good form, also winning four of their opening five completed games. They have twice put up totals north of 180, and secured a particularly impressive six-wicket demolition of Lancashire last week, chasing down their target of 152 with more than two full overs to spare.
In the first of two back-to-back matches on Friday (June 25) they fell short against Worcestershire, failing to defend 179 as the hosts got home with three balls and eight wickets to spare.
Who’s in form?
The headline attraction at Edgbaston will unquestionably be Durham’s Ben Stokes, who is one of the game’s global stars and whose mere name has the ability to sell out stadiums. There won’t quite be a sell-out crowd in the Second City, with capacity still restricted to 25%, but if Stokes’ performance in the reverse fixture, where he hit a brisk 29 from 18 balls before returning figures of 1 for 20 from four overs with the ball, is anything to go by, he should once again be able to provide value for money all on his own.
While Stokes’ 29 was undoubtedly valuable, it was Australian international Cameron Bancroft’s 76 not out which provided Durham with enough to see them home last Sunday. In the bowling unit, young leg-spinner Liam Trevaskis has proved his ability to restrict scoring, as despite bowling half his allocation against Northants in the powerplay, he was the only one to concede an economy rate of below seven an over. He also picked up Durham’s only wicket when he had Adam Rossington held by Matty Potts in the deep.
To counteract Trevaskis and get their faltering campaign back on track, Birmingham will look to explosive opener Ed Pollock, who top-scored against Derbyshire with a 21-ball 46. Veteran all-rounder Tim Bresnan was also a bright spot in that defeat, as he made an important unbeaten 34 to ensure the Bears saw out their overs, before picking up the wickets of Falcons openers Luis Reece and Harry Came in his first over of the chase.
What’s the team news?
Birmingham Bears: It is an unchanged squad for Bears. Jake Lintott does not come out of isolation until next week and Dan Mousley is out with a broken finger. Rob Yates, Olly Stone and Henry Brookes are longer-term absentees.
Birmingham Bears squad: Will Rhodes, Carlos Brathwaite, Jacob Bethell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Matt Lamb, Pieter Malan, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell, Ed Pollock
Durham: Teenage academy cricketer Harry Crawshaw is in the Durham squad for the first time.
Scotland fast bowler Ally Evans will remain with the squad, having joined on loan last Sunday, but Kyle Coetzer is no longer included.
Durham squad: Cameron Bancroft, David Bedingham, Scott Borthwick, Brydon Carse, Graham Clark, Harry Crawshaw, Sean Dickson, Ned Eckersley, Ally Evans, Matthew Potts, Ben Raine, Ben Stokes, Liam Trevaskis
Parking: There will be no parking available to purchase in advance or on the day for this fixture.
Parking will be available on-site for annual car park pass holders only. A small number of disabled parking spaces will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Public car parking may also be available on a pay and display basis in Cannon Hill Park and/or the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre. These car parks are not operated by Edgbaston.
By bus: There are regular local buses to the ground from southwest Birmingham and the city centre. National Express buses 45 and 47 have services between the city centre and Pershore Road which is a two-minute walk to the ground.
By train: Birmingham New Street Station is the main rail hub for the city with connections from all over the country.
How do I follow the match?
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Durham have hit a nice patch of form and having already beaten the Bears and the likes of Lancashire can rise to the big occasion. Away win.
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