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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

Get involved

  1. 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.

  2. Birmingham Bears win by 24 runs

    Birmingham Bears fans celebrate

    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.

  3. Birmingham Bears win by 24 runs

    Bears will play at Finals Day on 29 August

    Quote Message: 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. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  4. BreakingBIRMINGHAM BEARS WIN BY 24 RUNS

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

  5. 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.

  6. Last over

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    Essex 130-5

    Ryan ten Doeschate leaves the field

    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.

  11. Match over?

    Essex 130-5 (16.3 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: Hannon-Dalby gets a wicket with a full toss. Really well held by Rikki Clarke, and the Bears on top. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Westley out for 33

    Essex 103-3 (12.5 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: 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. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  19. WICKET (Westley c Clarke b Woakes 33)

    Essex 103-3

    Tom Westley is dismissed

    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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. Third umpire

    Essex 92-2

    Ravi Bopara hits a shot

    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.

  23. Bopara safe after run-out shout

    Essex 92-2 (11.1 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: Very good running from Bopara, good cricket awareness and good fielding as well. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

    Tom Westley plays a shot

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

  27. Essex 71-2 (9 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: 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. from Richard Wilford BBC WM 95.6
    Richard WilfordBBC WM 95.6
  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. Ryder out for 26

    Essex 47-2 (6.4 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: 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. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  31. WICKET (Ryder c Clarke b Rankin 26)

    Essex 47-2

    Jesse Ryder is dismissed

    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.

  32. Essex 41-1 (6 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: Good bowling by Chris Woakes, and now we're going to see Boyd Rankin. He's not express pace, but he gets good bounce. from Don Topley BBC Essex
    Don TopleyBBC Essex
  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. Essex 17-1 (3.3 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: 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. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  37. WICKET (Pettini c Patel b Clarke 6)

    Essex 17-1

    Rikki Clarke celebrates

    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.

  38. Essex 17-0 (3 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: 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. from Clive Eakin BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
    Clive EakinBBC Coventry & Warwickshire
  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. Essex 4-0 (target 190)

    Top start with the ball from Chris Woakes and he's right on the money. Jesse Ryder plays and misses, then gets fortunate with an edge past the slips off a slower ball.

  42. The key to an Essex win?

    Essex 3-0 (0.5 overs, target 190)

    Quote Message: What will help Essex enormously is if one of these two openers can still be there at the finish. For me, nothing beats that in cricket. from Paul Newton BBC Essex
    Paul NewtonBBC Essex
  43. Back under way

    Essex begin their pursuit of 190 with Mark Pettini and Jesse Ryder to open the innings.

    Chris Woakes will open the bowling for Birmingham Bears.

    Here we go....

  44. Who are the best left-handed cricketers of all time?

    Kumar Sangakkara

    To celebrate International Left-handers Day on 13 August, the Test Match Special commentary team of Charles Dagnall, Ebony Rainford-Brent, Jim Maxwell and Melinda Farrell compiled a left-handed XI during the rain-interrupted third day of the Women's Ashes Test at Canterbury.

    They had two criteria - players who were ambidextrous and batted left-handed but bowled right-handed, or vice-versa, were excluded, while female cricketers were also included in the debate.

    Find out the line-up here...

  45. How six perfect yorkers made folklore

    Friday: Worcestershire v Hampshire

    Andrew Hall

    So, while you wait for the resumption, why not take a read of a feature ahead of tomorrow's quarter-final?

    Worcestershire host Hampshire in the third T20 Blast quarter-final - arguably the biggest limited-overs match to be played at New Road for 12 years.

    Lancashire were strolling towards the 2003 C&G Trophy final, needing only seven runs off the final over to win. Then up stepped Andrew Hall to bowl six magical balls, sending Worcestershire to Lord's.

    Read the South African's recollection of that remarkable victory here.

  46. Innings break

    So a big score posted by Birmingham Bears. Essex will need to chase that down at a run-rate of 9.50.

    Laurie Evans led the way with a 30-ball half-century. Essex saw two of their bowlers go down with injuries.

    Stick with us - we'll have the second innings on the way very soon.

  47. Bears set Essex 190 to win

    Birmingham Bears 189-5 (20 overs)

    Quote Message: The fielding and the bowling was not the Essex way. They're usually very stingy in the field and with their line and length. There's a really good game on our hands here. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  48. Birmingham 189-5

    Four more from Chris Woakes over cover follows the six. He scampers a quick two to get back on strike for the final ball.

    He's denied 50 off the final ball as they run through on a wide. More misfields from Essex off the final ball as Javid gets a couple to finish things off.

    Not a night to remember in the field. Can their batsmen make amends? They need 190 to reach Finals Day.

  49. Six from Woakes

    Chris Woakes plays a shot

    Reece Topley bowls the final over and Chris Woakes pings a full toss away to the legside for a maximum.

  50. Birmingham 170-5

    That injury to David Masters has added another three minutes to the cut-off time for Essex, so they needed to be in position to start the last over by 20:02 BST.

    After some real scares, they've made it by six minutes.

    Ateeq Javid joins Chris Woakes at the crease. Woakes flashes hard off Ravi Bopara and it's down to the third man fence for four, and then finishes the over with a big six down the ground to move himself to 34.

  51. Evans out for 50

    Birmingham Bears 157-5 (18 overs)

    Quote Message: A great innings at a crucial time. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  52. WICKET (Evans c Bopara b Topley 50)

    Birmingham Bears 157-5

    Laurie Evans gets to 50 off 30 balls and then next ball hammers a short ball to the legside. Only one man out on the boundary and he finds him.

    It went like a tracer bullet, but Ravi Bopara holds on at deep mid-wicket.

  53. Dropped catch

    Birmingham Bears 155-4

    Now the captain's letting his side down. Laurie Evans drives Reece Topley to extra cover and Ryan ten Doeschate spills the effort.

  54. Birmingham 150-4

    Laurie Evans plays a shot

    Laurie Evans is really on song here and Essex in danger of losing touch. Tom Westley's expensive first over finishes with another boundary from the right-hander to bring up the 150.

  55. Evans picks up the pace

    Birmingham Bears 150-4 (17 overs)

    Quote Message: Somebody needed to get to 40 for the Bears. Laurie Evans has gone out and got it. The atmosphere's perked up now, that's for sure. from Richard Wilford BBC WM 95.6
    Richard WilfordBBC WM 95.6
  56. Six from Evans

    Birmingham Bears 144-4

    Spin for the first time in the innings with Tom Westley on to bowl. Laurie Evans pulls out the scoop shot to get a four which brings up the 50 partnership from 33 balls.

    He follows it up with a six the next ball.

  57. Birmingham 132-4 (Evans 29, Woakes 19)

    Ryan ten Doeschate takes over another over and Chris Woakes drives him through the covers for four. Birmingham Bears are progressing very nicely now after a tentative start.

  58. Napier and Masters off for Essex

    Birmingham Bears 124-4 (15.1 overs)

    Quote Message: One hopes there were a couple of extra bodies on the coach, because Essex are going down like nine-pins here. from Paul Newton BBC Essex
    Paul NewtonBBC Essex
  59. Masters hits the deck

    Birmingham Bears 124-4

    Chris Woakes cuts away fine and gets four past a diving David Masters at short third man.

    Masters isn't getting up after that and is holding his side as the physio comes out to give him attention.

    More injury worries for Essex after Graham Napier left the field with an injury earlier in the innings.

  60. Birmingham 120-4 (Evans 27, Woakes 9)

    David Masters back on to bowl. I can't quite understand why Essex aren't bowling spin when they need to get through the overs.

    Disciplined stuff from Masters, though, as Chris Woakes and Laurie Evans collect ones and twos.

  61. Can Essex bowl their overs in time?

    Birmingham Bears 117-4 (14.4 overs)

    Quote Message: A shorter run-up by David Masters - I think they are genuinely concerned about the cut-off time. from Clive Eakin BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
    Clive EakinBBC Coventry & Warwickshire
  62. Birmingham 112-4 (run rate 8.02)

    Laurie Evans picks up some runs

    Laurie Evans is showing his full range of strokes, with a straight drive down the ground off Ryan ten Doeschate.

    More scurrying between balls from the Essex bowlers as the clock continues to tick towards the cut-off.

  63. Birmingham 105-4 (Evans 15, Woakes 6)

    Essex in need of getting on with things in the field here.

    Cut-off time for the innings is 19:59 BST and Shaun Tait is jogging back to his mark between balls. They need to be in position to start the last over in about 24 minutes.

    A glorious stroke from Laurie Evans as he drives for four, then the right-hander is caught of a no-ball at point and hits the following free hit high in the air where he is caught (but not out) once again.

    Tait not helping his side's cause by bowling two horrible wides before Chris Woakes pulls him for four off the final delivery.

  64. Evans flashes Tait for four

    Birmingham 96-4 (12.2 overs)

    Quote Message: Jesse Ryder was in saving the one at backward point but I think he'll be taking a few steps back. The pace that ball went, it looked like Lance Klusener in the 1999 World Cup. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  65. Birmingham 90-4

    England all-rounder Chris Woakes is the new man in and he's off the mark immediately with a single behind square on the offside.

  66. Listen live on BBC radio

    Birmingham Bears 90-4 (12 overs)

    Click on the Live Coverage tab to listen to commentary from BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC WM 95.6 and BBC Essex.

  67. WICKET (Clarke c Topley b ten Doeschate 18)

    Birmingham Bears 88-4

    Reece Topley celebrates

    Well, on comes the skipper in an emergency and he picks up a prized scalp for his side.

    Ryan ten Doeschate takes the pace off one and Rikki Clarke gets a leading edge, which a gleeful Reece Topley snaffles in the covers.

  68. Graham Napier limps off

    Birmingham Bears 86-3

    Graham Napier leaves the field injured

    Graham Napier looking in trouble here for Essex.

    He follows through in his delivery stride and immediately grits his teeth.

    No hanging around from the all-rounder who came through a late fitness test ahead of this game, he collects his jumper and is off the field.

    Ryan ten Doeschate takes over the bowling duties.

  69. Birmingham 85-3 (Clarke 17, Evans 8)

    Few signs of sloppiness in the field from Essex as the Bears take advantage of a couple of misfields.

    Rikki Clarke almost ends up being bowled round his legs as a ball from Ravi Bopara floats just over leg stump.

  70. View from the dugout

    Birmingham Bears 81-3 (10.1 overs)

    Quote Message: I'm reasonably pleased to be honest. The wicket's a bit sticky and quite slow. All the batters that have come off so far have said it's been quite tricky. If we can get a little partnership here and take it to the 14th or 15th over, we'll be handily placed. from Dougie Brown Birmingham Bears director of cricket, speaking to BBC WM 95.6
    Dougie BrownBirmingham Bears director of cricket, speaking to BBC WM 95.6
  71. Six from Rikki Clarke

    Birmingham Bears 81-3

    Rikki Clarke is ticking.

    He shimmies down the track to Ravi Bopara and lifts him over mid-wicket for a maximum.

  72. Birmingham 75-3 (run rate 7.5)

    Classy shot from Rikki Clarke as he drives Shaun Tait for four through extra cover. Tait loses control of his line as Clarke glances a ball fine for four more.

    New man Laurie Evans gets away with a first-ball dismissal as he fends a short one away off his body. James Foster gets fingertips to it, but it races away for four.

    An expensive over from Tait costs 15 runs.

  73. Birmingham 60-3 (9 overs)

    Quote Message: Essex have started pretty well. There is the chance for an upset, but Essex are going to have to take every catch and be clinical for the rest of the Bears' innings. from Don Topley BBC Essex
    Don TopleyBBC Essex
  74. WICKET (Chopra c Westley b Bopara 18)

    Birmingham Bears 60-3

    Ravi Bopara

    Ravi Bopara grabs Essex another welcome wicket as Varun Chopra leading-edges the ball straight to Tom Westley at cover. Two wickets in the space of two overs for Essex.

  75. Birmingham 57-2 (Chopra 17, Clarke 1)

    Rikki Clarke the new batsman for Birmingham and he's off the mark with a tentative leading edge.

    Graham Napier can't repeat his fielding heroics as he fumbles on the boundary in an attempt to cut off Varun Chopra's pull shot for four.

  76. WICKET (Porterfield c Napier b Tait 23)

    Birmingham Bears 50-2

    Bowling change for Essex and a wicket as well.

    On comes the pace of Australian Shaun Tait. Could be devastating or very expensive from experience.

    This time it gets a wicket and Graham Napier dives forward just in time to grab a catch at third man to dismiss danger man Will Porterfield.

  77. Birmingham 50-1 (Chopra 11, Porterfield 23)

    Varun Chopra

    Ravi Bopara comes on to bowl with a run-up that would definitely be labelled a trundle in the standard of cricket I play.

    Varun Chopra tries to pull a short ball away but only manages to hit his partner at the other end as Will Porterfield is forced to take evasive action.

    Bopara looks like he's mixing up his pace and bowling the odd ball out the back of his hand. The 50 is up for the Bears at the end of the over.

  78. Birmingham 45-1 (6 overs)

    Quote Message: To be 45-1 at the end of the powerplay - you would take that having been put into bat, against a good and experienced Essex bowling attack. Will Porterfield is timing the ball nicely and finding the gaps. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  79. Birmingham 45-1 (Chopra 9, Porterfield 20)

    Powerplay over for the home side.

    A steady rate just above seven-an-over.

    Varun Chopra opens his boundary count for the night as he pulls Masters for four behind square leg.

  80. Six from Porterfield

    Birmingham Bears 40-1

    Will Porterfield rubs salt in to the Essex wounds after that drop from James Foster and slog sweeps David Masters for six over long leg.

  81. Dropped catch

    Birmingham Bears 34-1

    James Foster

    Oh no!

    James Foster puts an absolute skier down as Varun Chopra leading edges a shot high in to the evening sky. One that the Essex wicketkeeper really should have taken.

    Earlier in the over, Will Porterfield showed some class with two consecutive drives for four in Graham Napier's first over.

  82. Birmingham 23-1 (4 overs)

    Quote Message: All of the things that made Essex a dangerous draw on paper are already being shown with the guile of their bowling attack. from Richard Wilford BBC WM 95.6
    Richard WilfordBBC WM 95.6
  83. Birmingham 23-1 (Chopra 5, Porterfield 2)

    David Masters continues for Essex and Varun Chopra finds it hard to pierce the inner ring of fielders.

    He tries to give himself some room outside leg, but Masters follows him.

    A Graham Napier fumble at short fine leg gets him off strike. New man Will Porterfield gets under way with a couple of singles.

  84. Birmingham 20-1 (Topley 2-0-10-1)

    Ian Bell

    A couple of balls before his dismissal, Ian Bell opened the face to ease the ball behind point for the first four off the bat.

    Good control from Reece Topley in that over, and his persistence paid off with a wicket.

  85. Bell departs for 7

    Birmingham Bears 20-1 (3 overs)

    Quote Message: That was a slower ball that slightly did him in the flight. Ian Bell's toed it and unfortunately this is the game - in T20, you've got to get after the ball. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  86. WICKET (Bell c ten Doeschate b Topley 7)

    Birmingham Bears 20-1

    Reece Topley

    Breakthrough for Essex and Reece Topley.

    Ian Bell doesn't time an attempted lofted drive and Ryan ten Doeschate runs back to take a catch over his shoulder for the first wicket of the night.

  87. Post update

    Birmingham Bears
  88. Birmingham 13-0 (Chopra 2, Bell 2)

    David Masters opens up the bowling from the Pavilion End.

    James Foster waits just two balls before deciding to come up to the stumps to the right-arm medium pacer.

    A tidy start from Masters with just two singles off him.

  89. Birmingham 11-0 (1 over)

    Quote Message: From an Essex point of view, that's an expensive first over. from Don Topley BBC Essex
    Don TopleyBBC Essex

    Don, a former Essex player, is commentating on his son Reece for BBC Essex this evening. Should be interesting listening.

  90. Post update

    Graham Napier
  91. Birmingham 11-0 (Chopra 1, Bell 1)

    A swinging delivery from Reece Topley angles down the legside and beyond the diving gloves of James Foster.

    The wicketkeeper can't stop it, beating him and racing to the boundary for four leg byes.

    The left-armer is trying to get the ball up in the blockhole and Ian Bell has to dig one off his toes to get off the mark.

    Foster has a moment to forget off the last ball as he's nutmegged and the ball runs away for four byes.

  92. Let's play

    T20

    Fireworks and loud music accompany the teams and the umpires out to the middle at Edgbaston.

    Reece Topley scratches out his run-up to open the bowling for Essex and Birmingham captain Varun Chopra will take first strike with Ian Bell his opening partner at the other end.

    Here we go.

  93. Post update

    Shaun Tait
  94. Post update

    Brendon McCullum
  95. Willey century sends Northants through

    Wednesday: Northants beat Sussex by seven wickets

    David Willey

    Teams will be on their way out to the middle shortly, but in case you weren't with us last night, Northants became the first side through to Finals Day on 29 August and it was David Willey who stole the show.

    Not content with taking 3-27 as Sussex set Northants 166 to win, Willey struck a 40-ball century to see the 2013 champions home by seven wickets and with four overs to spare.

    One Michael Yardy over went for 34 runs, while Willey's ton was the fastest in this year's competition.

  96. Bell's back, but not Cook

    Birmingham Bears v Essex Eagles (18:40 BST)

    Alastair Cook and Ian Bell

    Birmingham welcome England batsman Ian Bell back to their ranks for this evening's quarter-final, but his national captain Alastair Cook will not be lining up against him.

    Essex have decided not to recall the left-hander despite him being made available for selection and have opted to stick with the players that saw them qualify from the group stage.

  97. Post update

    Quote Message: We played some good cricket this time last year. It's been a tough season so far, our four-day form has been a little bit up and down, but hopefully we can get across the line. from Jonathan Trott Birmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
    Jonathan TrottBirmingham Bears batsman on BBC 5 live sports extra
  98. Toss and team news

    Essex Eagles captain Ryan ten Doeschate has won the toss and elected to put Birmingham Bears in to bat.

    Still a few showers around perhaps and maybe the Essex skipper fancies knowing what his side will have to chase, in case we come down to the Duckworth Lewis Method.

    Here are the full line-ups:

    Birmingham: Chopra (capt), Bell, Porterfield, Clarke, Evans, Javid, Ambrose, Woakes, Patel, Hannon-Dolby, Rankin.

    Essex: Pettini, Ryder, Westley, Bopara, ten Doeschate (captain), Browne, Foster, Napier, Topley, Masters, Tait.

  99. Rain around

    Birmingham Bears v Essex Eagles (18:40 BST)

    There's been some pretty heavy weather around today, even floods in some parts of the country, as the action earlier on in the Women's Ashes Test at Canterbury showed.

    The forecast for Edgbaston this evening is for a cloudy, humid and unsettled night with frequent outbreaks of rain.

    That rain is very likely to turn heavy and thundery at times, according to the BBC Weather page.

    Edgbaston weather forecast for Birmingham v Essex

    Let's hope it's wrong on this occasion.

  100. Start time agreed

    Birmingham Bears v Essex Eagles (18:40 BST)

    Umpires Richard Illingworth and Jeremy Lloyds have ventured out to the middle.

    They've taken a quick look, had a chat with the groundsman and both captains and the decision has been to roll back the covers and get started at 18:40 BST.

    No overs lost at this stage.

    Teams and the toss to come shortly all being well.

  101. Weather update

    Quote Message: It's stopped raining now and it's looking a lot brighter overhead, so we won't start at half past six but the hope is that we might have the toss at half past six and we won't be too delayed. from Chris Coles BBC WM 95.6
    Chris ColesBBC WM 95.6
  102. Delayed toss

    Birmingham Bears v Essex Eagles (18:30 BST)

    Let's get you right up to date with events at Edgbaston.

    Sadly there is some rain around the West Midlands at the moment and we have a delayed toss.

    Word is the rain isn't that heavy currently - more of a mizzle than anything else - and the ground staff look like they might be trying to peel back the covers ASAP.

    We'll keep you posted on when they'll be looking to get under way.

  103. Big night in Brum

    One down, three to go.

    The T20 Blast quarter-finals kicked off with a bang last night and the first team through to Finals Day on 29 August was confirmed.

    A recap to come shortly.

    But, this evening we're at Edgbaston as holders Birmingham Bears take on Essex Eagles in a repeat of one of last year's quarter-finals.

    Birmingham Bears celebrate

    The Bears won through that night by 19 runs, will history repeat itself or are Essex in town to spring an upset?

    Stay with us - it all begins in just under 15 minutes - providing the light rain relents...