Bell inspires Warwickshire
Ian Bell steered Warwickshire to a six-wicket win over Northamptonshire in their opening CB40 match with an unbeaten 82 at Edgbaston.
England batsman Bell found form ahead of the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's with a century against Durham in the LV= County Championship last week and maintained it with another unflustered 84-ball innings as his side made 212 for four in reply to Northamptonshire's 209 for seven.
The pitch was the same one that was used for the Durham match, but it had lost much of its pace and suited the spinners.
Bell, though, nursed Warwickshire through a difficult period in which they lost three wickets to Northamptonshire spinners James Middlebrook and Con de Lange to guide Warwickshire to victory with 15 balls to spare in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 103 in 13 overs with Rikki Clarke, who made 54.
Bell completed a patient half century from 62 balls with four fours and then launched left armer David Willey for six high over long on.
Clarke rattled to his half century from just 43 balls before he clipped Andrew Hall off his legs for the winning runs and his seventh boundary.
Northamptonshire's total, which was based around a busy 52 from captain Hall, was competitive but they lost wickets at crucial times and their only partnership of substance was 48 for the fifth wicket between Hall and Stephen Peters.
Scotland international Kyle Coetzer made a breezy 44 which included a leg-side six off Clarke and six fours, but the innings lost impetus after he got a leading edge to extra cover off Keith Barker.
Barker, who took a wicket with his first ball when Alex Wakely chopped on, finished with three for 41 and helped to tie down the middle order with New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel, who conceded only 24 in his eight overs.
Peters helped his captain revive the innings, but he was bowled driving at Andy Miller when well set which left Hall to provide the late acceleration.
Hall struck just two fours and pulled a short ball from Clarke for six as he reached a half century from 53 balls.
Northamptonshire struck an early blow when Jonathan Trott drove Chaminda Vaas low to Willey at point, but Bell and Varun Chopra laid the platform for victory with a second-wicket stand of 57 before Chopra was taken down the leg side by Niall O'Brien off Middlebrook.
De Lange took his first wickets in county cricket when William Porterfield was caught behind cutting out of the rough and Jim Troughton clipped to midwicket, but Bell and Clarke accelerated when the seamers returned to see their side home.