Northants have no answer to Bell
England batsman Ian Bell steered Warwickshire to a six-wicket win over Northamptonshire in their opening Clydesdale Bank 40 match of the season at Edgbaston.
Bell found form ahead of the first Test against West Indies at Lord’s with a century against Durham in the LV= County Championship this week and maintained it with another unflustered innings; he struck 82 not out as his side overhauled Northamptonshire’s 209 for seven.
The pitch was the same one that was used for the Durham match, but it had lost much of its pace and suited the spinners in the Group C encounter.
Bell, though, nursed Warwickshire through a difficult period, in which they lost three wickets to Northants spinners James Middlebrook and Con de Lange, to help seal victory with 15 balls to spare; he put on 103 with Rikki Clarke, who made an unbeaten 54.
The number three completed a patient half-century from 62 deliveries with four fours, and then launched left-arm seamer David Willey for six over long-on.
Clarke rattled to his fifty from just 43 balls before clipping Andrew Hall off his legs for the winning runs and a seventh boundary.
Northants’ total, built around a busy 52 from captain Hall, was competitive yet they will rue losing wickets at crucial times; their only partnership of substance was 48 for the fifth wicket between Hall and Stephen Peters.
Scotland international Kyle Coetzer made a breezy 44, which included a leg-side six off Clarke and six fours. But the innings lost impetus after he got a leading edge to extra-cover off Keith Barker.
Barker, who took a wicket with his first ball when Alex Wakely chopped on, finished with 3-41 and helped tie down the middle order with New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel, who conceded only 24 in his eight overs.
Peters helped his captain revive the innings, but was bowled driving at Andy Miller when well set, leaving Hall to provide the late acceleration.
The South African struck just two fours and pulled a short ball from Clarke for six as he reached a half-century from 53 balls.
Northamptonshire struck an early blow when Jonathan Trott drove Chaminda Vaas low to Willey at point, but Bell and Varun Chopra laid the platform for victory with a second-wicket stand of 57 until the latter was taken down leg by Niall O’Brien off Middlebrook.
De Lange took his first wickets in county cricket when Will Porterfield was caught behind, cutting out of the rough, and Jim Troughton clipped to midwicket, but Bell and Clarke accelerated when the seamers returned to see their side home.