Bears book final berth
Birmingham Bears advanced to the final of the Natwest t20 Blast as they beat Surrey by 16 runs in the opening semi-final at Edgbaston.
Batting first, the Bears posted an imposing 194-4 from their 20 overs, boosted by an excellent unbeaten 81 from William Porterfield.
Surrey made a blistering start to their chase with Jason Roy (58) smashing a quickfire fifty, but once he and then Kevin Pietersen (13) had departed the innings lost momentum.
In the end the Londoners left themselves with far too much to do late on and finished on 178-7 as the Bears won with something to spare on home turf.
Ian Bell and Bears skipper Varun Chopra put on a half-century stand for the opening Birmingham wicket before the England right-hander was somewhat unfortunately bowled by Matt Dunn for 38 - the ball just squeezing through Bell's defences and dislodging a single bail.
But Porterfield accelerated impressively as the innings progressed, although he was able to take advantage of a number of full-tosses, most noticeably from Jade Dernbach in the final over.
With Rikki Clarke contributing a solid 35, the Bears' total always looked like taking some chasing, although in-form Roy provided the perfect platform as Surrey reached the end of the power-pay at 78-0.
The right-hander blazed ten fours and two sixes during a thrilling knock at the top of the order, but rather gave it away as he found Chris Woakes at deep backward square after an attempted slog-sweep off Jeetan Patel.
Ateeq Javid then chipped in with two vital wickets in two overs; firstly taking a sharp return catch top dismiss Pietersen and then having Gary Wilson caught off a top-edge in the covers by Chopra.
Surrey would never recover with Azhar Mahmood (16) cleaned up by Woakes as he looked for quick runs, the England bowler also claiming the wicket of Robin Peterson in the final over.