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Summary

  1. Holders Birmingham Bears win by 24 runs
  2. Birmingham join Northants at Finals Day on 29 August
  3. Bears 189-5 (Evans 50, Woakes 48no)
  4. Essex 165-6 (Westley 33, Bopara 32)

Live Reporting

By Adam Williams

All times stated are UK

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That's your lot

That's it for tonight's live action. But, don't worry, we'll be back with the rest of the T20 Blast quarter-final action over the next two days.

First up on Friday, it's Worcestershire Rapids v Hampshire from 17:15 BST.

Then on Saturday, we round up the last eight when Kent Spitfires play Lancashire Lightning from 14:15 BST.

Thanks for stopping by tonight, and see you again tomorrow.

Birmingham Bears win by 24 runs

Birmingham Bears fans celebrate
Getty Images

So Essex finished well short of victory on 165-6.

Birmingham Bears have the batting of Laurie Evans and then the canny bowling and fielding of Rikki Clarke to thank for that win.

Essex will feel their sloppy fielding cost them while a sorry night also saw Graham Napier and David Masters pick up injuries.

Birmingham Bears win by 24 runs

Bears will play at Finals Day on 29 August

There would have been a lot of pressure and expectation coming into this game. We saw Sussex, the home team, getting turned over by Northants last night. Essex are a good team but they came up against a Bears team perhaps hitting form at the right time.

Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra

BreakingBIRMINGHAM BEARS WIN BY 24 RUNS

Game over. Birmingham Bears will defend their T20 Blast title on Finals Day at their home ground.

WICKET (Browne run out 13)

Essex 163-6

Goodnight Vienna.

That's your lot mathematically and improbably as Nick Browne attempts to get his senior partner James Foster back on strike, but is left stranded mid-pitch.

The Bears will be back for Finals Day on 29 August.

Last over

Chris Woakes to bowl it for Birmingham Bears - 28 runs to defend for a place at Finals Day.

Essex 161-6 (need 29 off 6 balls to win)

Oliver Hannon-Dalby is pulled away by Nick Browne for four, but Essex really need a David Willey-esque effort to get close here.

James Foster clubs a straight six off the final ball and it's still mathematically possible.

Essex 148-5 (need 42 runs to win from 12 balls)

Rikki Clarke on for his final over and James Foster thick edges one over backward point for four.

Gets another four as Boyd Rankin doesn't reach one at short third man and then Ateeq Javid can't cut the ball off on the offside boundary.

15 runs off the over. Don't switch off just yet, you never know.

Essex 133-5 (need 57 to win from 18 balls)

James Foster is in and it's a huge task on his hands to try and get his team even close.

He just survives being caught at extra cover as he doesn't quite time a drive.

WICKET (ten Doeschate c Clarke b Hannon-Dalby 13)

Essex 130-5

Ryan ten Doeschate leaves the field
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Six and out.

Ryan ten Doeschate tries to hammer another shot down the ground and once again, Rikki Clarke is there to take the catch.

Match over?

Essex 130-5 (16.3 overs, target 190)

Hannon-Dalby gets a wicket with a full toss. Really well held by Rikki Clarke, and the Bears on top.

Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra

Six from ten Doeschate

Essex 130-4

Oliver Hannon-Dalby back on to bowl and Ryan ten Doeschate connects to register the first six of this Essex innings.

Essex 124-4 (need 66 to win off 24 balls)

Rikki Clarke outfoxes Nick Browne with some more variations in pace. Browne makes a horrible attempt at the scoop and can't get it away.

Clarke gets his yorker just right and the Bears are creeping closer to victory.

Five overs to go

Five overs to go then. Essex requiring more than 14-an-over to pull off an unlikely victory against the holders.

Essex 121-4 (need 69 to win off 30 balls)

Jeetan Patel shows why he should stick to cricket as his football skills give away an overthrow.

He needlessly kicked the ball towards the bowler's end stumps but it goes well wide and Essex pick up an additional run from his miscued effort.

Nick Browne is the new man in and he takes some big swings off Boyd Rankin - some he connects with, others he doesn't.

WICKET (Bopara b Patel 32)

Essex 114-4

Is that the game right there? Jeetan Patel gets a big wicket off his final over and it's Ravi Bopara.

Bopara had just lofted Patel for four over deep mid-wicket and then a straight drive down the ground.

He couldn't do it a third time as Patel yorks him.

Essex 104-3 (need 86 to win from 42 balls)

Tom Westley had earlier swung away to the legside off Chris Woakes for four to bring up the Essex 100 and the 50 partnership for the third wicket.

It came off just 37 balls. Ryan ten Doeschate the new man in for Essex following Westley's departure.

Westley out for 33

Essex 103-3 (12.5 overs, target 190)

Westley was in six-hitting mode. That's a crucial wicket for the Bears. You don't get many safer pairs of hands than Rikki Clarke.

Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra

WICKET (Westley c Clarke b Woakes 33)

Essex 103-3

Tom Westley is dismissed
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Tom Westley swings down to the long-on boundary but he doesn't get enough of it. Rikki Clarke takes the catch in the deep and Westley's innings ends after 33 balls.

Third umpire

Essex 97-2

Another run out appeal here, as Ravi Bopara sets off for a quick single. Varun Chopra throws from point and hits the stumps.

Tom Westley is in by inches as he slides his bat in and is given not out.

Essex 96-2 (target 190)

Jeetan Patel rattles through the rest of the over and, crucially for the Bears, it passes by without any boundaries.

Third umpire

Essex 92-2

Ravi Bopara hits a shot
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Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara scamper two runs off Jeetan Patel.

Despite Laurie Evans's brilliant throw to the non-striker's end, Bopara gets home just in time.

not-outBopara safe after run-out shout

Essex 92-2 (11.1 overs, target 190)

Very good running from Bopara, good cricket awareness and good fielding as well.

Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra

Essex 90-2 (need 100 to win from 54 balls)

Boyd Rankin bowls a third over in succession and Ravi Bopara pulls a short ball for four to the mid-on fence.

He follows it up with a back-foot shot for four more behind square on the offside.

A mixed bag of an over that contains two boundaries, a wide and three dot balls.

Essex 79-2 (target 190)

Jeetan Patel into a second over of spin and Ravi Bopara creates some room for himself before pulling a ball for four through mid-wicket.

Essex ahead of the comparative scores at the halfway stage of this innings, despite still requiring more than 10-an-over to win.

Birmingham Bears were 75-3 at this stage.

Essex 71-2 (need 119 to win from 66 balls)

Tom Westley plays a shot
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Boyd Rankin continues and it's a quiet affair from his second over as Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara pick up the singles.

Essex 71-2 (9 overs, target 190)

Any over without a boundary is a problem for Essex now. If Boyd Rankin can maintain the control he's showing at the moment, that would be a huge positive for the Bears.

Richard WilfordBBC WM 95.6

Essex 65-2 (Westley 19, Bopara 3)

Jeetan Patel comes on as the Bears take pace off the ball.

Slings one down the legside and Tim Ambrose can't get enough of his gloves on it to prevent four wides.

Tom Westley cuts a ball past the dive of Chris Woakes for four before skipping down the pitch to loft one for four more to mid-wicket.

Essex 49-2 (target 190)

Ravi Bopara in at number four for Essex and Boyd Rankin is cut away by the right-hander for a single to get him off the mark.

Ryder out for 26

Essex 47-2 (6.4 overs, target 190)

I just don't think that was there to be hit over cover. He's just hit a fantastic shot over mid-off - perhaps there was an opportunity to work it for ones and twos. This is T20 cricket, they're chasing a big total and they need runs.

Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra

WICKET (Ryder c Clarke b Rankin 26)

Essex 47-2

Jesse Ryder is dismissed
Getty Images

The danger man goes for Essex just as Jesse Ryder was looking like he was finding his range.

Boyd Rankin gets his first over of the evening and Ryder had given him the treatment with a lofted drive over extra cover for four.

But he fails to repeat it as he finds the splice of the bat and Rikki Clarke takes the catch as it lobs round to mid-off.

Essex 41-1 (6 overs, target 190)

Good bowling by Chris Woakes, and now we're going to see Boyd Rankin. He's not express pace, but he gets good bounce.

Don TopleyBBC Essex

Essex 41-1 (need 149 to win from 84 balls)

Chris Woakes returns for a second over and Jesse Ryder punishes a wide ball with four through cover, driving on the up.

He tries to pierce the in-field a second time, but some tidy fielding from the Bears in the ring.

End of the powerplay and 41-1 from Essex plays 45-1 from the Bears.

Essex 31-1 (need 159 to win from 90 balls)

Jesse Ryder drives Oliver Hannon-Dalby down the ground for four and Tom Westley follows suit with a lofted drive of his own over mid-on.

Despite the boundaries, Essex already requiring more than 10-an-over to chase this 190 target.

Essex 21-1 (target 190)

Tom Westley the new man in for Essex. Rikki Clarke has him in all sorts of bother as he continues to vary the pace.

He makes amends next ball, though, with a nicely timed legside drive for four.

Essex 17-1 (3.3 overs, target 190)

A really good start for the Bears and not what Essex would have wanted, but there are still plenty of match-winners in their side.

Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra

WICKET (Pettini c Patel b Clarke 6)

Essex 17-1

Rikki Clarke celebrates
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Rikki Clarke on to bowl again at Mark Pettini, who swings and misses at a pull shot. Essex already in trouble, Pettini picks out Jeetan Patel with a cut shot straight to point.

Essex 17-0 (3 overs, target 190)

Already the Bears' fielding is looking immeasurably better than the Eagles' was. If they can keep that up, that's worth 30 runs at least.

Clive EakinBBC Coventry & Warwickshire

Essex 17-0 (Ryder 11, Pettini 6)

Oliver Hannon-Dalby comes on to bowl and Jesse Ryder drives his first ball for four to the extra cover fence.

The New Zealand international swings and misses at a slog sweep and then mistimes a couple of slower balls from the right-armer.

Living a bit of a charmed life is Jesse.

Essex 11-0 (target 190)

Rikki Clarke opens up from the Birmingham End and Jesse Ryder is trying to get things going here for Essex, but yet to get his timing.

Mark Pettini tucks one away for four off his legs but there's only singles from the rest of the over as Clarke varies his pace.