Blast 18 has begun and in brilliant sunshine too! In our featured game the brilliance of Ian Bell proved there is still a place in the cut and thrust world of T20 for a touch player, and what a player he is...
BELL CHIMES FOR BEARS
Whatever Ian Bell touches turns to boundaries at the moment, and it was no different for the former England legend at Trent Bridge for Birmingham Bears. The uber experienced campaigner scored an unbeaten 82 off 57 balls, full of elegance and fit to bursting with more of the cover drives we know and love.
GRANT'S MAGIC HANDS
Remember when Bears skipper Grant Elliott produced an exceptional catch at full-stretch for his side against Glamorgan on Finals Day last year? He was at it again on Wednesday, with a carbon copy against the Outlaws... incredible!
Ben Duckett was on the losing side in Northamptonshire Steelbacks' first match against Leicestershire Foxes, but he didn't deserve to be. The left-handed batsman struck 96 off 54 balls as his side reached a very healthy looking 218/3 from their 20 overs. But the Foxes hunted down their target with aplomb, Colin Ackermann's rapid-fire 66* off 31 and a clutch of other contributions seeing them home with two balls to spare.
GO WIESE LIGHTNING
There was drama at Chelmsford between Essex Eagles and Sussex Sharks, and South African David Wiese was the star of the show. The South African bowler collected five wickets, three in one over, and was ably assisted by the formidable spin prospect that is Rashid Khan, who took 2/25 off his four, while the dependable star that is Jofra Archer claimed 3/24.