Birmingham Bears edge into the T20 Blast semi-finals with a 24-run victory over Essex Eagles at Edgbaston, putting them two wins away from retaining their title.
Birmingham Bears have moved into the T20 Blast semi-finals with a 24-run victory over Essex Eagles at Edgbaston.
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The hosts recovered from a slow start to post 189-5, with Laurie Evans notching up 50 and Chris Woakes claiming 48 not out as they surged towards the end of the 20 overs.
Essex managed 165-6 in reply, Tom Westley top-scoring with 33 off 27 balls, Ravi Bopara hitting 32 and Jesse Ryder claiming 26.
Chasing 190 to win, the tourists kept in touch with their opponents, but their chances of victory disappeared once Bopara was bowled by off-spinner Jeetan Patel.
The Bears are just two wins away from retaining their domestic T20 crown, having won the title for the first time in 2014, and will appear at their home ground on Finals Day at the end of August.
T20 Blast roundup: Essex move top of South Group >