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Bears close in on last eight

Leaders Warwickshire tightened their grip on the Midland/Wales and West Division, beating Gloucestershire by 27 runs in Bristol to move a step closer to the Twenty20 Cup quarter-finals.

in doing so, the Bears consigned the Gladiators to their first defeat in the competition this season and extended their own unbeaten record to five matches.

They were indebted to wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Ambrose, who smashed 77 from 56 balls as the visitors reached 149 for eight from their 20 overs.

Gloucestershire did not recover from the loss of early wickets and finished well short on 122 all out in front of their biggest crowd of the season.

After Gladiators captain Alex Gidman won the toss, Anthony Ireland 0 bowling into a strong wind - got the home side off to a great start with a double wicket maiden.

Neil Carter was superbly caught low down by David Brown off the third ball of the innings and Darren Maddy chopped onto his stumps two deliveries later.

Only 28 runs came from the first six overs, when the fielding restrictions were in place, and Warwickshire's problems deepened in the seventh over when Jim Troughton was run out going for a second to deep cover.

Ambrose led the Warwickshire revival with a fine array of attacking shots.

He struck Mark Hardinges for six over midwicket and then his second maximum, a pick-up off Ben Edmondson to the same area, took him to a 43-ball half-century, which also included five fours.

Alex Loudon helped Ambrose add 35 for the fourth wicket before being bowled by David Brown for 10, and Heath Streak contributed 20 to a fifth-wicket stand of 38 with the wicketkeeper before he skied a return catch to Edmondson.

Tim Groenewald and Ambrose smashed 42 for the seventh wicket in four overs, but only four runs came off the last over of the innings as Gloucestershire claimed three more wickets.

Edmondson had Groenewald caught by Carl Greenidge at third man, bowled Ambrose with his next ball and then Nick James was run out of the final ball.

Australian paceman Edmondson finished with three for 20 from his four overs, while Ambrose ended with six fours and three sixes in his 56-ball innings.

Gloucestershire made heavy weather of their reply, scoring 41 runs while the fielding restrictions were in place and losing three wickets into the bargain.

Craig Spearman was caught behind off Carter and Jimmy Anyon accounted for Kadeer Ali and Chris Taylor in successive overs, the former chipping to mid-off and the latter holing out to deep midwicket.

Gloucestershire were reduced to 60 for five as South African Test spinner Paul Harris carved through the middle order.

Mark Hardinges was clean bowled in the act of sweeping and a similar fate befell Gidman, who fell to a poor swipe to leg for 20.

The home side's best chance of winning went with their captain, Warwickshire's bowlers exerting a stranglehold upon the remaining middle order batsmen.

Brown was stumped while swinging wildly to gift left armer Harris an impressive return of three wickets for 18 runs from his four overs.

Groenewald then had Ian Fisher caught at long-on and bowled Carl Greenidge with a yorker in the penultimate over to put the outcome beyond doubt.

source - sportinglife.com
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