Notts beat Birmingham to win Maiden T20 Blast Final
A magnificent 132 run stand between Samit Patel and Brendan Taylor inspired Nottinghamshire to their first ever domestic T20 title at Edgbaston on Saturday night. The pair helped the Outlaws recover from 30-3 to post a score of 190-4, and despite Sam Hain’s 72 Birmingham were always behind the rate.
The win means that Notts have won the white ball double this summer after winning the One Day Cup back in July and they remain on course to win the treble if they can seal the County Championship division two title later this month
The final was dominated early on by England pacemen Chris Woakes who ripped through the Nottinghamshire top order taking the key wickets of Alex Hales and Riki Wessels. He also removed Tom Moores who now carries the unfortunate label of being the first player to have scored two ducks on finals day.
It was then where Patel and Taylor came together in what was the match-winning partnership. They produced a masterclass in the situation they were in. First they consolidated to get their side out of the hole at 30-3 before producing some stunning shots.
The way they played all around the ground was perhaps the most impressive aspect of an excellent partnership, exemplified by two wonderful deft shots by Patel for four down to third man of Thomason, before two overs later smashing Jeetan Patel over the midwicket boundary for six. This was one of Patel’s four sixes in a score of 64. Taylor was equally impressive with his 65 that included 9 fours.
Taylor was eventually out caught well on the boundary by Sibley with the score on 162 and the Bears were just about in the game. However it was the final over of their innings that really put Notts in control. Captain Dan Christian hitting two fours and two sixes of the final four balls from Olly Stone’s over to take his side to an imposing 190-4.
In reply Birmingham’s young batting order, who have revitalised the Bears T20 campaign, found the target a step too far. Dom Sibley was bowled by the impressive Harry Gurney who took 4-17 from his four over spell. Then just four balls later the ever present Patel produced a wonderful piece of fielding to run out dangerman Ed Pollock, who had been so impressive in the Bears Semi Final win over Glamorgan. Hose and Elliot both also fell cheaply and the score read 63-4. It was left to Sam Hain and overseas signing Colin De Grandhomme to rebuild, and to an extent they did that, but when Gurney returned to bowl the Kiwi just as he started to look dangerous you sensed that too much was left to do.
Hain went on to make 72 from 44 balls and Aaron Thomason struck some lusty sixes to keep the Bears just about in touch. However when Hain was out to the first ball of the penultimate over, clearly struggling from cramp, and then Thomason followed him three balls later, the contest was effectively over.
The sight of the Outlaws players singing along with the crowd before the last over, meant they now knew their maiden T20 crown was there’s. 22 runs was the victory of margin in the end and wild scenes erupted amongst the Nottinghamshire players and fans.
About ten and a half hour before Nottinghamshire became champions, finals day as a spectacle was just beginning. The showpiece event which is the only one of its kind to play both the semi-finals and the final on the same day, began with a clash between the Birmingham Bears and Glamorgan.
Having been put into bat, the Bears posted a score of 175-9 mainly due to an explosive start provided by Ed Pollock. The youngster smashed the Welsh sides attack to all parts of the ground in a score of 50 from just 23 balls.
He was out to the final ball of the powerplay but a score of 65-1 from the opening six overs represented a good start for the Bears. Though they failed to really capitalise on this as it was left to Captain Grant Elliot and compatriot Colin De Grandhomme who both contributed useful scores of 32 and 30 respectively to help the 2014 champions up to a competitive score after the rest of the top order had faltered.
Glamorgan would have been happy at the interval, at the way they had fought back as at one stage a score of 200 was on the cards. Three wickets from the final three balls of the Birmingham innings showed how well they had scrapped to get back into the contest.
However this optimism eroded early as their top order collapsed. Donald was caught excellently on the boundary by Hain and Ingram fell to another fantastic catch from Grant Elliot who took an excellent catch whilst towards the boundary, and when David Miller edged behind to Ambrose of Stone, they were 39-3 and staring at a heavy defeat.
Carlson and Cook both also fell cheaply, but captain Jacques Rudolph, on his final T20 appearance for the club, along with Graham Wagg kept the South Group winners in the game. Rudolph was eventually out for 65 thanks to a clever piece of fielding by Aaron Thomason, and at that point the Bears had one foot in the final.
Wickets continued to fall and with 26 required from the final over and only one wicket in hand, Glamorgan’s dream seemed over for another year. Though what followed was an extraordinary passage of play where Andrew Salter struck three boundaries from the first three balls of Chris Woakes’ final over, and with only twelve required from three balls suddenly the Bears fans in the crowd started to look nervous. The very next ball he went big again, but this time to be caught on the boundary by Adam Hose. So close to the boundary the catch was taken, that it could have very easily gone all the way for six, and Glamorgan may well have made the final.
Before Notts could reach the final that would finally see them win a T20 tournament, they had a tough proposition in Hampshire to get past first, in the second of the days semi-finals. The dangerous duo of Hales and Wessels got the Outlaws away to a quick start. Hales registering his one and only six over the deep midwicket boundary, before being caught by Afridi attempting to cut the ball down to third man in the following over.
Wessels was on 48 until Mason Crane got him to chip one to James Vince in his first over. The Hampshire spinners then took over strangling the Notts innings and when Taylor fell to Afridi for a run a ball 19 at the start of the 13th, a big finish was required.
Patel got to 35 before he was caught in the deep, but Dan Christian accelerated with 24 from 12 balls to give the Notts innings the impetus it so desperately required, and late runs from Billy Root and Isi Sodhi got the Outlaws up to 169-7.
Much like the first semi-final, the match was in the balance at the interval, however very first ball Shahid Afridi who score a stunning 100 against Derbyshire in the quarter finals, held out to Alex Hales in the deep and immediately Hampshire were on the back foot. James Vince led the fightback and at 97-2 his side seemed on course for their first appearance in the final since they won the title back in 2012.
However it was Stephen Mullaney who made the decisive contribution with the ball to turn the match on its head. He first caught Tom Alsop of his own bowling, then he bowled the experienced George Bailey before taking the key wicket of James Vince who was caught in the deep for 56. Michael Carberry potentially playing his last match for Hampshire was run out by Patel two balls later, and Hampshire who were seemingly in control were suddenly on the back foot.
Gareth Berg gave the Hampshire fans hope but when he, Dawson and Abbot were all out with the score on 140 Hampshire’s quest for another T20 title was over, eventually being bowled out for 146 when Jake Ball bowled Chris Wood in the penultimate over. Nottinghamshire were the team to reach the final and went on to make history.