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Bears smother Outlaws

An unbroken stand of 67 from Laurie Evans and Ateeq Javid laid the foundations for Birmingham Bears to claim an 18-run win over Notts Outlaws in the NatWest T20 Blast.

The Bears had got off to a slow start but Evans clobbered 45 off 23 balls, ably supported by Javid, as the visitors posted 156 for five at Trent Bridge.

Notts got their reply off to a flying start but wickets then fell steadily and they ended up well short.

Laurie Evans leads a thrilling counter-attack for Birmingham Bears, who were on the ropes against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge

Birmingham chose to bat but were one down in the third over when Samit Patel pouched Will Porterfield off England left-arm seamer Harry Gurney.

Jonathon Webb struck his first two deliveries to the fence but Ajmal Shahzad ended the rookie’s fun.

The run-rate was going at a relative snail's pace and when James Taylor took another catch off Patel to remove Varun Chopra for 17, the Bears were wobbling on 43 for three.

Shoaib Malik and Tim Ambrose briefly upped the pace but the former England wicketkeeper became Patel’s second victim for 13.

Riki Wessels then took a quite sensational catch to remove dangerman Malik for 29 – Patel again the beneficiary - and the Bears were set for a below-par total when Evans took matters into his own hands.

The 26-year-old clubbed three fours and a six from four consecutive balls in a 20-run 17th over, with Javid finishing unbeaten on 26.

Notts were 53 without loss off five overs before both openers exited in three balls to Malik.

The all-rounder bowled Hales for 30 and trapped Michael Lumb lbw for 24 to turn the contest completely on its head.

The Bears celebrate sending Michael Lumb back to the pavilion two balls after Alex Hales - a pivotal moment in the match

Patel was next to go for five, caught by namesake Jeetan off Javid and the Bears must have sensed their chance as the rate began to slow.

Wessels fell for 15 off the final ball of the 14th over, with Webb taking the catch off Boyd Rankin and Chris Read made just two before edging behind off Chris Wright.

Recordo Gordon then removed Steven Mullaney and Taylor for 28 as the Outlaws ran out of steam.

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