Stokes makes winning comeback for Durham


Ben Stokes batting for Durham
Ben Stokes was playing his first T20 Blast game for Durham since the 2018 quarter-finals

Ben Stokes was on the winning side in his first game since breaking a finger in April as Durham defeated Birmingham Bears by 22 runs at the Riverside in the T20 Blast.

The England all-rounder made 29 off 18 balls, took a wicket and a brilliant catch as Durham registered their fourth win.

Joe Root scored 49 off 36 balls in his seasonal T20 debut for Yorkshire as they beat Derbyshire by 39 runs to go top of North group.

The innings of the day was Josh Inglis’ unbeaten 103 as Leicestershire broke their duck with a 34-run victory over Northants, while holders Notts Outlaws were involved in their second tie of the competition, this time against Lancashire.

The Lightning – who were without Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone – needed eight to win off Luke Fletcher’s final two deliveries and after hitting a six, Keaton Jennings was run out for 88 attempting a second to Steve Mullaney as they finished on 172-4 in reply to Nottinghamshire’s 172 all out.

Contrast in styles

Stokes – who suffered his injury playing for Rajasthan Royals against Punjab Kings in the IPL – and Root both found themselves at the crease to face the final ball of the opening over in their respective games.

But that was the only similarity as their approach to batting provided a marked contrast in styles, with Stokes relying on power and improvisation and England Test captain Root opting for more orthodox strokeplay.

Stokes smashed a six over long-on off Tim Bresnan and also hit four boundaries in his 18-ball cameo, but an attempted switch-hit off his 2016 World T20 final nemesis Carlos Brathwaite was his undoing as he edged to the keeper.

Cameron Bancroft’s unbeaten 76 saw Durham to 185-4 and Stokes then took a magnificent tumbling catch running back from mid-off to dismiss Ed Pollock and a far easier one to remove the dangerous Brathwaite for six.

He also claimed the wicket of Sam Hain for figures of 1-20 as the Bears could only manage 163-8 in reply.

At Emerald Headingley, Root fell one short of a fifty when he was caught at mid-on but after Yorkshire closed on 174-6, he took a wicket in the second over of Derbyshire’s reply when Luis Reece sliced a catch to backward point.

Dom Bess then claimed 3-21 from his four overs and New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson matched his figures as Derbyshire were all out for 135 with an over left in their innings.

Foxes finally off the mark

Leicestershire and Northants have lifted the T20 trophy five times between them, but both have struggled in the early stages of this year’s competition.

The Foxes went into the game at Wantage Road with a 100% losing record, five defeats from five, while Northants owed their single point to a no-result.

Inglis and Arron Lilley (44) gave the visitors’ innings a healthy tempo and skipper Colin Ackermann then joined the Australian in an unbroken stand of 101 to the end of the innings – with Leeds-born Australian Inglis reaching his 59-ball century with a flip to long leg off Ben Sanderson.

It was the third century of this year’s Blast – and the seventh by a Leicestershire batsman in the competition’s history.

Josh Inglis batting for Leicestershire
Josh Inglis’ previous best T20 score was 82 made against Yorkshire five days earlier

Leicestershire finished on 200-2 and although Mohammad Nabi landed a six on the roof of the Turner stand in his 32 and Rob Keogh made an unbeaten 50 from just 29 balls, Northants fell well short on 166-7.

At Emirates Old Trafford, Tom Moores’ 48 was the top score for Notts as Danny Lamb took 3-23, but Lancashire could not get over the winning line despite an opening stand of 118 between Jennings and Finn Allen, who hit 60 off 43 balls.

The Outlaws also tied with Worcestershire Rapids in their opening match of the competition.

Meanwhile, in South group, no play was possible between Gloucestershire and Hampshire Hawks, the second successive washout for both teams.

Coming next

Monday’s fixture

Surrey v Essex Eagles, The Oval (18:30 start)

Tuesday’s fixtures

Notts Outlaws v Worcestershire Rapids, Trent Bridge (18:00)

Gloucestershire v Kent Spitfires, Bristol (18:30)

Derbyshire Falcons v Leicestershire Foxes, Derby (19:00)

Sussex Sharks v Glamorgan, Hove (19:00)


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