Warwickshire seal last-four slot
Warwickshire secured a place in the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40 after Imran Tahir inspired them to a seven-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire in the Group C decider at Edgbaston.
Tahir claimed 4-27 in eight overs, including the key wickets of Adam Voges and Chris Read, as Nottinghamshire were reduced to 192 all out after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.
This was nowhere enough to test Warwickshire as Jonathan Trott returned from npower Test duty and wrapped up his team’s ninth group win in 12 games by batting through the innings for an undefeated 84.
As usual, Neil Carter set the pace. Dropped twice in the same over by Samit Patel, the left hander made a brisk 30 until holing out at long off.
The ever-efficient Trott kept things ticking over and saw the Bears home with 19 balls to spare after a stand of 87 in 16 overs with Ian Bell.
In a successful comeback from injury, Bell put his time in the middle to good use. Only six runs were needed for victory when he was caught at mid on after making a run-a-ball 50 to put the seal on a new career milestone.
Eight weeks after breaking a toe in a NatWest Series one-day international against Bangladesh in Bristol, Bell captained Warwickshire for the first time, although he has led England Lions and Under-19 teams.
There was a positive touch to his leadership with an early move to get two spinners working in tandem.
With opener Akhil Patel already gone for 21, Ant Botha, the slow left-armer, had Alex Hales caught at long on for 34 with his 11th delivery and Tahir captured two wickets in his second over.
Samit Patel clipped the first ball back to the bowler, diving low to his left, and 20-year-old Scott Elstone drove a boundary through the covers before he was bowled by a superb googly.
The industrious Read kept the scoreboard moving with 35 in 32 balls until Tahir zipped one through to take the off stump.
Tahir’s final success in his best one-day performance for Warwickshire was the big prize. Voges stretched well forward but missed a leg-break and Richard Johnson completed a slick stumping to dismiss the Australian for 54.
There was not much else to trouble Warwickshire as their seamers polished off the lower order. Carter’s two wickets came in an elongated over which also included three wides.