Report: Lancashire Lightning v Hampshire Hawks, Finals Day
Hampshire Hawks lifted the Vitality Blast title for the third time after a superb fightback with the ball squeezed them to a one-run victory over Lancashire Lightning in a dramatic final at Edgbaston.
Chasing the Hawks’ 152 for eight, the Lightning were well on course at 72 for one in the eighth over before a clatter sent them into the last over needing 11 with two new batters at the crease.
Nathan Ellis held his nerve, but it wasn’t without drama though. Hampshire thought they had claimed victory but the original final delivery was called a no ball in the midst of wild celebrations. Ellis managed to compose himself to bowl it again and the Hawks to victory as the Lightning closed on 151 for eight in one of the most bizarre and thrilling endings to a competition.
It was gutting for Lightning who had been spun into a strong position by Matt Parkinson (four for 26) after the Hawks chose to bat. The England spinner’s wickets included Ben McDermott whose 62 (36 balls) was the only major contribution to a modest total.
At halfway, Lightning were firm favourites and they raced to 50 in 28 balls but then wickets began to fall regularly as the Hawks bowlers and fielders rose to the pressure
The Hawks’ decision to bat appeared to have backfired as they lost wickets regularly from the moment Richard Gleeson sent the ninth ball of the innings into James Vince’s stumps. Semi-final hero Tom Prest sent up a fatal top-edged off Luke Wood and then Parkinson got to work removing Joe Weatherley, Liam Dawson and McDermott.
Parkinson added his fourth wicket when Nathan Ellis was superbly held on the long on rope by Tim David and it was left to Ross Whiteley (22, 20 balls) and Luke Wood (21 not out, 17) to eke their side to a total which gave them something to bowl at.
Lightning lost Phil Salt to the fourth ball of the innings, brilliantly caught by a tumbling Prest at deep mid-wicket, but there were already 12 runs on the board then and the early charge was continued by Steven Croft (36, 25 balls).
Croft and Keaton Jennings added 60 in 43 balls before Hampshire’s spinners started to cause turbulence. Croft tickled a leg-side catch to the wicketkeeper off Mason Crane and Dawson had Jennings and Dane Vilas caught at long odd and extra cover respectively.
When James Fuller pinned Tim David lbw, it was 118 for five and suddenly the Lightning nerves were jangling with 35 required from four overs. The first of those, a brilliant from Ellis, cost just three runs and, as the pressure mounted, Lamb skied Fuller to mid off and Luke Wood was run out.
It came down to 11 needed from the last over, bowled by Ellis, and then six from the last ball or so we thought. Ellis bowled Gleeson and the Hawks wheeled away in celebration before noticing a call of no ball. The Lightning had a reprieve with three now required from a free hit, but Ellis stayed strong to beat the batter’s swipe and this time the Hawks’ celebrations could continue.