Birmingham 117 for 3 (Agar 41*) beat Leicestershire 115 for 9 (Edwards 4-22) by seven wickets
Fidel Edwards made one of the most spectacular starts in Vitality Blast memory to set Birmingham Bears motoring to a seven-wicket victory over Leicestershire in front of a bumper crowd at Edgbaston.
The West Indian paceman, making his debut on loan from Hampshire, took wickets with his first, third and sixth balls to leave the Foxes in immediate disarray at 2 for 3 after one over.
There was no way back from that for the visitors who mustered only 115 for 9, Edwards finishing with 4 for 22 while captain Jeetan Patel added 2 for 24.
To the delight of most in a noisy Edgbaston crowd of 11,442, the Bears then eased to 117 for 3 from 14.5 overs thanks to Sam Hain, who struck 31 off 33 balls, and Australian debutant Ashton Agar, who was unbeaten on 41 off 28.
Put in, Leicestershire were immediately blitzed by Edwards who bowled openers Neil Dexter and Mark Cosgrove for golden ducks and had Arrun Lilley caught at deep square leg.
From such a terrible foundation, the Foxes’ recovery was only ever partial. Harry Dearden and Colin Ackermann added 45 for the fourth wicket but were then bowled in the first overs from Patel and Will Rhodes respectively. Agar chipped in with the wicket of Lewis Hill, caught at long on, as Leicestershire crawled past 100 in the 18th over.
Edwards returned to add his fourth wicket when Callum Parkinson skied to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess. Ben Mike, recently a popular loanee with the Bears, batted intelligently for 19 but was bowled slogging at Patel.
When the Bears set out in pursuit of their small target, Leicestershire desperately needed to take early wickets but snared only one, Michael Burgess who chipped Parkinson to mid-wicket. Ed Pollock thrashed 27 from 16 balls and, after he was caught off Dieter Klein’s first ball, Hain and Agar added 49 in seven overs before the former heaved Mike to deep square leg.
As Agar accelerated, the Bears coasted to victory in serene fashion in a match which will long be recalled for Edwards’ sensational start.
“That first over was special,” Edwards said. “They always say the first over is so important in Twenty20 so I just tried to do my best and it just happened for me. I was keen to get out there and see if the ball would swing and luckily it did for me today. I really enjoyed the day with a great crowd in. With England having just won the World Cup it is a great time for English cricket.”