Saif Zaib continued his incredible run but the Birmingham Bears tightened up the top of the North Group in a high-scoring encounter against Northamptonshire Steelbacks.
Chris Lynn continued his ridiculous form to return to the top of the Blast scoring charts, now with 443 runs, with his 59 and Saif Zaib was outstanding in his 74 – but the Steelbacks 211 proved short in the six-wicket defeat.
The Steelbacks missed the opportunity to move to the top of the group with the top four teams all separated by a single point – with Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and the Bears on 14 points.
Northamptonshire won the toss and without a second thought asked to bat first on a new wicket in front of a busy, sun soaked Wantage Road.
Lynn took his run tally at Wantage Road to 361, with an average of 120, but he initially took his time to get going. He was two off nine balls and six off 12 before heading to ‘Lynn-sanity’ mode again.
A swatted six over square, which never seemingly descended, got him going before a glorious on-drive was followed up by charging Carlos Brathwaite to clear the mid-wicket boundary.
Ben Curran had played a series of thumping straight shots before he was unlucky, his defensive shot from Brathwaite trickling back onto his stumps to end the 72-run opening stand.
Lynn brought up his fourth fifty in five innings on the ground in 37 deliveries.
Zaib simply continued where he had left off the previous evening, where he managed a career-best 92. A four-four-six combo which ended with a full toss disappearing over point a particular highlight in a blistering knock.
The Buckinghamshire-born batter, whose third T20 half-century of the campaign came up in just 24 balls, demolished Craig Miles when he took him for 20, with 28 runs coming in the eight balls before falling to a good catch at long on.
The final three overs were all action as 39 runs were plundered and three wickets taken as the Steelbacks reached 211 for six – the eighth highest score in their history, but just their fourth largest on this ground in 2022.
Paul Stirling started well before the Irishman nicked off a good delivery from Sanderson the first ball of the following over.
Sanderson continued to show his class and struck again in his second over, which only went for one run, when Rob Yates was beaten by a ball that nipped back and broke the bail, before the pressure paved the way for Taylor to pin Sam Hain in front.
Davies and Hose showcased some impressive shot-play, especially on the cut and drive in a 69-run partnership that threatened to sway the game firmly in the visitors’ grasp. But Freddie Heldreich found a way through Davies attempted sweep, this time damaging the stump.
Just as the run rates were converging, Benjamin got going with a trio of sweeps, two going the distance and the other all along the floor, while Hose brought up his fifty with a six on the pull. Benjamin’s fifty came in 28 balls – and included four maximums – as the pair put on exactly 100 to get the Bears over the line with seven balls to spare.
The Steelbacks next home fixture on Friday is now a crucial encounter as the sixth place Yorkshire Vikings visit Wantage Road.