Finals Day’s Thrilling Evolution
In 2004, Edgbaston hosted T20 Finals Day for the first time and it was a fantastic spectacle with three great games adding up to an occasion described by Wisden as "a brilliant day's cricket."
That set the bar pretty high - but that bar keeps on going up. Edgbaston has now hosted Finals Day on nine occasions, each delivering its own stories and magic, with the most recent, in 2017, widely described as the "best ever."
It's no surprise, then, that Edgbaston has become the home of Finals Day, having hosting every one since 2013, or that tickets for the 2018 showpiece are already selling fast.
" It has become such a standout carnival occasion - pulsating and passionate but colourful and good-natured "
It has become such a standout carnival occasion - pulsating and passionate but colourful and good-natured - that more and more cricket-lovers are booking their places way in advance, irrespective of whether their team will be there.
That's because, while the unique Edgbaston atmosphere never changes, T20 batting constantly gets more enterprising and explosive. On that first Edgbaston Finals Day, back in 2004, the semi-finals and final produced 911 runs and 27 sixes. In 2017, the three games yielded 1,012 runs (the first Finals Day to top 1,000) and 35 sixes. Spectating at Finals Day is not just getting more exciting - it's getting more dangerous.
For the players, too, Finals Day at Edgbaston has become the peak of the domestic cricket calendar - and it's the Midlands counties which have a great record over the years, coming out on top in six of the nine Finals Days in Birmingham.
In 2004, Darren Maddy powered the Leicestershire Foxes to glory. The south then briefly took over as Kent Spitfires and Sussex Sharks triumphed in 2007 and 2009 before the Foxes regained the trophy in 2011.
In 2013, Northants Steelbacks were champs thanks to David Willey's amazing performance in the final when he blasted 60 from 27 balls then took four for nine!
Then 2014 brought the best Finals Day so far, with the final, between Birmingham Bears and Lancashire Lightning, going right down to the last ball. Chris Woakes held his nerve and the Bears won the trophy for the first time.
Twelve months later, Lancashire, coached by Ashley Giles, took their revenge by winning the tournament before the Midlands domination resumed. Northants Steeelbacks triumphed in 2016, then this year Notts Outlaws beat the Bears in the final.
Great feats, great tales all - with more sure to unfold at Edgbaston Stadium on Saturday 15th September 2018 - the next NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day.
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