By Freddie Bennett | Sport Editor
The finale of the T20 Blast competition took place on Sunday, October 4 and it was the Nottinghamshire Outlaws who came out on top at Edgbaston.
For the first time in the history of the competition, the original Finals Day was postponed with heavy rain and wind coming down all day on Saturday, October 3. This meant that the Gloucestershire, Surrey, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire sides had to wait until the following day to see who would take the trophy home.
The first semi-final between Gloucestershire and Surrey was able to take place with the other two teams facing off later in the day. Both semi-finals would be slightly shortened to 11 overs apiece while the final came to 16 overs per side.
Semi-final one: Gloucestershire v Surrey
With around 48 hours of rain preceding this opening game of Finals Day, it is fair to say the conditions were not exactly batting friendly. Nevertheless, in the gloominess of the day, it was the Gloucestershire side who were batting first in their eleven overs a side game against Surrey.
The west country team did not get off to a great start, losing Miles Hammond quickly for one, followed by star batsman Ian Cockbain for naught. Due to a small but important partnership between opening bat Chris Dent with 17 runs and Ryan Higgins with 19, the Gloucester boys were looking to rebuild the innings.
However, this did not last long and due to three wickets from England World Cup winner Liam Plunkett, and two from England international Reece Topley, Gloucestershire finished their eleven overs on 73-7. An under-par score, but with an excellent bowling attack the Gloucestershire side would have been hopeful.
In their reply, Surrey got off to a shaky start after Gloucester left-arm quick David Payne dismissed English international Jason Roy for six. Yet, this dismissal and that of opening bat Will Jacks, again by Payne, brought Ben Foakes and Laurie Evans to the crease for Surrey. These two looked to build a solid reply with Foakes scoring an impactful 20 before being Payne’s third victim.
However, it was too little too late as Rory Burns and Jamie Overton got Surrey over the line winning by six wickets and cementing their place in the final.
Semi-final two: Lancashire v Nottinghamshire
In the second semi-final of the day, Lancashire Lightning faced Nottinghamshire Outlaws. The Lightning opened the batting with Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone who got off to a solid start making 15 and 22 respectfully. Though when Davies was dismissed for 15, Steven Croft came to the crease. The number three bat looked to set the tone for Lancashire as he made a quickfire 33 off 22 balls. Given the shorter nature of the innings, the Lightning finished their eleven overs on 94-4 with Matthew Carter picking up two of the wickets.
In their reply, the Outlaws got off to a decent start with Alex Hales smashing 29 from 17 balls before being bowled by Matthew Parkinson. Yet, this led to a bit of a wobble for the Notts side as Ben Duckett, Joe Clarke and Tom Moores were all out cheaply. Nevertheless, veteran county pro Dan Christian took 13 balls to score a triumphant 30 runs. This left Samit Patel and Pakistan international Imad Wasim to guide Notts to a five wicket victory and a place in the final against Surrey.
Final: Surrey v Nottinghamshire
In the final game of the domestic season Surrey faced Nottinghamshire Outlaws in a 16 overs per side game to decide the T20 champions. The Surrey side were the first to bat and the formidable partnership of Jason Roy and South African legend Hashim Amla came to the crease. With this dangerous opening partnership against the solid Notts attack, the game looked well-poised.
However, when Amla was dismissed for three, the Surrey side would have lost some confidence. Nevertheless, with Roy hitting it to all parts in his 66 off 47 balls and Laurie Evans forming a composed innings with 43 off 23, it was all to play for at the halfway point.
Surrey ended on 127-7 off their 16 overs with the strength of the Notts attack proving troublesome as Dan Christian picked up four wickets and quick bowler Jake Ball got two.
It is fair to say the Outlaws got off to a nervous start as opening bat Alex Hales was dismissed first ball by Reece Topley. Following this dismissal, Joe Clarke and Samit Patel were both out cheaply for three and seven runs respectively. In this shaky opening four overs from Nottinghamshire, they had to build a partnership to stand a chance.
With Ben Duckett and Peter Trego at the crease, the Outlaws looked to re-build as these experienced players constructed an impactful partnership. When Trego was next to go, there was not much for Dan Christian to do as he guided the side home. The Nottinghamshire team finished on 129-4 and won the final by six wickets in what was a Finals Day that will be very difficult to forget.