Patel hat-trick boosts Bears
Jeetan Patel took a hat-trick to help Birmingham Bears claim an exciting five-wicket victory over Yorkshire Vikings in the NatWest T20 Blast North Group match at Headingley.
The veteran spinner dismissed Kane Williamson, Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth in the ninth over to help reduce Yorkshire to 62 for five and, although the hosts recovered to post 147 for six, it was not enough to deny Birmingham.
Led by Laurie Evans’ 69 not out off 43 balls, which included nine fours and two sixes, the Bears – who looked in trouble at 40 for four – squeezed home with two deliveries to spare in front of a 6,251 crowd.
Victory for the home side would have ensured them of a place in the last eight of the competition but now they will most probably have to beat Nottinghamshire Outlaws at the same venue in a week's time to make the cut. The win for Bears also kept them in the frame.
Patel, the 34-year-old former New Zealand off-spinner, had already had Alex Lees stumped by Tim Ambrose before capturing his hat-trick.
He trapped fellow Kiwi Williamson lbw for 15 off 19 balls and then comprehensively bowled skipper Gale and Lyth, who had his off-stump flattened.
Patel, who also registered career-best figures of 4-19, achieved the feat in his 108th appearance in this form of cricket and it was the first T20 hat-trick since David Willey’s for Northants Steelbacks in last summer's final.
It was the fourth T20 hat-trick for the Bears, the others having come from James Anyon, Imran Tahir and Keith Barker, the latter's against Yorkshire – who also suffered a similar fate at the hands of Jeremy Snape for Leicestershire Foxes in 2007.
Yorkshire's crisis deepened when Jonny Bairstow struck Ateeq Javid into the waiting hands of Paul Best at long-off to make it 79 for six in the 13th over, but then Tim Bresnan and Adil Rashid carried out a splendid rescue act by knocking up an unbeaten 68 off the final 44 deliveries.
Bresnan ended with a career-best 45 off 36 balls featuring six fours and Rashid 29 from 20 deliveries highlighted by four boundaries.
The Bears decided to go for their shots right from the start but the policy did not pay immediate dividends and the first four were back in the pavilion inside eight overs with just 40 scored.
Will Porterfield gave a simple catch to Gale at short cover in Bresnan's first over and Ryan Sidebottom dismissed Jon Webb and Ambrose before Varun Chopra fell to Azeem Rafiq.
Rikki Clarke and Evans had put on 43 when Clarke was taken by Rafiq running in from the midwicket boundary off Rashid after hitting the leg-spinner into the West Stand earlier in the over and, with the visitors 83 for five in the 13th over, Yorkshire were still favourites.
But Evans and Javid rapidly turned the tide and, with 22 wanted from the last two overs, Evans blasted Sidebottom for two fours and a six in an over that cost 16 and took the batsman to his half-century from 37 balls.
Richard Pyrah bowled the last over and, fittingly, it was Evans who smacked the winning boundary, his 65-run stand with Javid coming from 42 deliveries.
A delighted Patel said: "It was my first hat-trick in any form of cricket. A lot of bowlers get two-in-two but to go on and make it three in a row is a very nice feeling.
"The first wicket was that of Williamson and I was happy to stop him gaining more momentum. It was great to go on and bowl Gale and Lyth with the next two deliveries.
"Obviously there was some luck attached but I was very happy to achieve the feat and then all credit to Rikki Clarke, Laurie Evans and Ateeq Javid for getting us home with the bat."
See also:Bears hopes rest on spin battle