Put in a situation he relishes, Michael Bevan again proved why he is the world's best limited-overs batsman when he performed another fine finishing effort – this time in whites – to give Leicestershire the victory they deserved.
It was not the get-out-of-jail performance for which he has become famous with world champion Australians, but it was a lesson in how to deal effectively with the pressure of a run chase. Opening with Iain Sutcliffe, Bevan's steely glare was in evidence as soon as he trotted on to the field and there was little doubt – in his mind, the spectators', and probably in the opposition's – that he would be responsible for knocking off the necessary 94 runs in 16 overs and moving Leicestershire into second place.
Bevan's one-day trademarks were visible immediately as they chased 5.9 runs an over: a cover-driven four, fine placement for singles and twos, and quick running. Rarely going for the big shot, he accumulated as the run rate hovered slightly too high until three blows from Neil Burns off an Alan Richardson over ensured a cruise to victory.
Leicestershire's chase, achieved with nine balls to spare, was helped by no balls and defensive fields, allowing them to play with minimal risk. However Bevan, 38 not out from 50 balls, proved that he was human as misjudged runs ended in his first two partners, Sutcliffe and Darren Stevens, being run out.
For Warwickshire, promoted last season, it was further confirmation that life in the First Division is harder, despite the coach Bob Woolmer's insistence that the difference is "not that great''. Having seen his team lose their first two matches in the top flight, Woolmer needs a quick-fix to his side's vertigo.
What began as a morning of good news during a bad match for the Bears – Nick Knight scored a gritty century and Ian Bell remained available after missing England selection – turned sour after tea. Instead of holding firmly to the handrail to claim a confidence-boosting draw, they lost their grip and toppled out of the game.
Knight, the England one-day opener, added some much needed steel at the top of the order on a day where survival was the only goal. While he played some attractive shots, his 25th first-class hundred was one of defiance.
Knight and Jim Troughton passed the early tests set by the veteran Phil DeFreitas and Devon Malcolm double act during a 139-run partnership. Troughton comes from a family of actors and he did his best impression of a first-class batsman with his first Championship half-century, though he was playing a sleeves-rolled-up role rather than the heroic time traveller his grandfather Patrick starred as inDr Who.
The wicket of Troughton on the stroke of lunch and those of Dougie Brown and Knight after the break gave Leicestershire some hope of a quick kill, but the all-rounder Shaun Pollock batted fluently, ensuring the home team needed to bat again by scoring his second half-century of the match.
The game swung dramatically after tea. Matthew Whiley struck twice in the first over, Darren Maddy then removed Ashley Giles and Pollock before Malcolm finished off the innings to set up the entertaining run chase which enlightened a day of struggle.Reuse content