By Gary Smee
BBC Sport at Edgbaston
Notts Outlaws won their first domestic Twenty20 title with a 22-run victory over Birmingham Bears in the T20 Blast final at Edgbaston.
A magnificent 132-run stand between Brendan Taylor (65) and Samit Patel (64 not out) propelled Notts to 190-4 after they had slumped to 30-3 early on. Harry Gurney’s 4-17 restricted the Bears to 168-8, despite Sam Hain’s 72.
Notts now hold both domestic limited-overs trophies after their One-Day Cup success at Lord’s in July. Peter Moores’ side are well-placed to complete a treble-winning season by claiming the Division Two title in the County Championship.
Experienced heads change the game
The Outlaws’ chances in the final looked bleak after they lost their top order cheaply, including England opener Alex Hales for a second low score of the day – bowled by international team-mate Chris Woakes (3-29).
Woakes also removed Tom Moores and Riki Wessels to leave Notts reeling, before an excellent recovery.
Once former Zimbabwe international Taylor, 31, and veteran all-rounder Patel, 32, settled in they turned the final in Notts’ favour.
Patel was the more destructive batsman, smashing four sixes in his 42-ball knock, while Taylor used a mix of deft touches, reverse sweeps and pure timing to find the boundary nine times.
Patel’s innings was one of high class under the most extreme pressure – he used his feet superbly against a fine bowling attack to clear his front leg out of the way and hit regular boundaries.
Taylor fell at the start of the 19th over, but Outlaws captain Dan Christian finished the innings in style with 24 off eight balls, including 23 off paceman Olly Stone’s final over.
Bears youngsters unable to save the day
Birmingham Bears transformed their T20 top-order halfway through the competition – bringing in youngsters Dominic Sibley from Surrey, Adam Hose from Hampshire and Ed Pollock from university cricket.
But it was only 22-year-old Hain who could find any form in the final with some wonderful straight hitting into the stands.
All-rounder Aaron Thomason, 20, also provided some lusty blows in his brisk innings of 26, but Notts’ experienced seam attack held their nerve.