Final: Notts Outlaws v Surrey
Notts Outlaws won the Vitality Blast for only the second time after beating Surrey by six wickets in a 16-overs-per-side final under the Edgbaston lights.
Three years after lifting the trophy for the first time, they added a second triumph after chasing down a target of 128 with 16 balls to spare.
They put Surrey in and restricted them to 127 for seven, a total constructed almost entirely by a third-wicket partnership of 90 from 52 balls between Jason Roy (66, 47 balls, seven fours, one six) and Laurie Evans (43, 23 balls, three fours two sixes).
Nobody else passed five against a well-drilled attack. Samit Patel (4-0-25-1) and Jake Ball (3-0-17-2) set the tone with impressive early overs and Ball returned to take the big wicket of Roy before Dan Christian finished with 4-0-23-4 to wreck Surrey’s hopes of a late charge.
Notts then lost Alex Hales to the first ball of the innings and limped to 19 for three but Ben Duckett (53 not out, 38 balls, eight fours) and Peter Trego (31, 21 balls, five fours and a six) added 63 in 33 balls to put their side in the box seat. Duckett stayed to see his side home, in the end, quite comfortably.
Surrey’s innings started unevenly as Hashim Amla and Will Jacks made just three apiece before sending up catches. Patel’s first three overs cost14 to apply an early brake on the scoring and only when Evans, on his former home ground, and Roy were together did Surrey escape the shackles.
Roy reached his 38th T20 half-century from 36 balls while Evans bated explosively until he lifted Christian to deep-mid-wicket.
Ball returned to the attack to strike the pivotal blow with an in-ducker that trapped Roy in front. The nine balls left in the innings after that brought just eight runs for two wickets as Ben Foakes and Liam Plunkett tried and failed to clear the ropes off Christian.
At half-time, Notts looked slight favourites – less so when they dipped to four for two after nine balls. Hales scooped the first ball of the innings from Reece Topley, to Evans at deep square leg and Joe Clarke fell to a fine catch by Jamie Overton in the same position.
When Patel holed out off Jacks, it was 19 for three and Notts needed shoring up but Duckett and Trego batted with composure and intelligence to wrest the initiative back the Outlaws’ way.
Trego missed a slog-sweep at Dan Moriarty and was adjudged lbw but departed with his team needing 46 from seven hours, a task achievable without recourse to big risks on a large field. You could hardly have a better man than Christian to come in and finish the job and he joined Duckett to add an unbeaten 21 from 11 balls to his earlier four wickets.
Semi-Final 2: Notts Outlaws v Lancashire Lightning
Notts Outlaws will face Surrey in the 16-overs-a-side Vitality Blast final after beating Lancashire Lightning by five wickets in the second semi-final at Edgbaston.
In an 11-overs-a-side match, Lancashire chose to bat and made 94 for four, thanks principally to Steve Croft’s 33 (22 balls, two fours, two sixes) and Liam Livingstone’s 22 (15 balls, two fours, one six). The Outlaws bowled collectively tidily, led by Matt Carter’s 2-0-16-2 and Imad Wasim, 3-0-20-0.
Notts then reached 95 for five from just 9.2 overs after a well- organised chase topped and tailed by Alex Hales’ 17-ball 29 (two fours, two sixes) and Dan Christian’s explosive 30 (13 balls, no fours, four sixes). Christian hit 4 consecutive sixes in the eighth over to make the pursuit a formality.
An all-round impressive bowling performance from Notts restricted Lancashire to 94. The Lightning’s innings got off to an explosive start as openers Alex Davies and Livingstone found the boundary numerous times, before Davies was caught sweeping for 15 off Samit Patel.
A dangerous partnership for Lancashire began to flourish through Livingstone and Croft before Carter broke the 43-run stand as Livingstone was caught for 22. Carter’s second wicket arrived in his next over when he trapped Dane Vilas lbw for five.
Croft continued his impressive performance, before being caught on the boundary for 33, to give Jake Ball his first wicket, as he bowled impressively at the end of the innings.
Notts started their innings with intent, reaching a 30-run opening partnership from 16 balls between Hales and Ben Duckett before the latter skied a delivery from Saqib Mahmood for 13.
Hales looked dominant alongside Joe Clarke, however Callum Parkinson bowled the opener for 29 to give Lightning hope.
Tom Hartley damaged the Outlaws further with two wickets in four balls, firstly dismissing Tom Moores for one, then dismantling Clarke’s stumps to oust the explosive batsman for 17 off 8 balls.
These two wickets brought Christian and Patel together and the former decided to take on the eighth over, from Livingstone. It cost 25 as Christian dispatched four sixes into the Hollies stand.
Callum Parkinson bowling the Aussie for 30 off 13 balls, but nevertheless, needing just four after his departure, Wasim Imad hit the winning runs to see the Outlaws chase down 95 inside nine overs.
Semi-Final 1: Surrey v Gloucestershire
Surrey advanced to the Vitality Blast final with a six-wicket win over Gloucestershire in a low-scoring first semi-final at Edgbaston.
In an 11-over match, Gloucestershire were restricted to 73 for seven by a superb bowling display led by Liam Plunkett (2-0-12-3) and Will Jacks (2-0-5-1).
Surrey were, in turn, made to work hard for runs but reached 74 for four with eight balls to spare as Ben Foakes compiled a timely 20 (20 balls, no fours, one six).
After the loss of the whole of Saturday to rain, play finally began at 3.15pm thanks to an improvement in the weather and also a Herculean effort by the Edgbaston groundstaff.
Put in, Gloucestershire suffered a nightmare start, reaching the end of a truncated 3.2 overs powerplay on only 12 for one. Miles Hammond had already sent up a skier off Reece Topley and then, first ball after the powerplay, danger man Ian Cockbain miscued a hit at Will Jacks and perished for a duck.
Jacks conceded just five runs from his two excellent opening overs from the Birmingham End.
Chris Dent at least found the boundary a couple of times but fell for 17 (13 balls) when he skied a slog-sweep at Dan Moriarty and Jason Roy took a calm catch at mid-wicket.
Gloucestershire desperately needed impetus but the seventh over, which saw Plunkett enter the attack, only brought them more trouble. It brought just three runs and the wicket of Jack Taylor, caught by Jacks at mid on.
Ryan Higgins (19, 14 balls) perished at the start of Plunkett’s second over which brought two more wickets. Benny Howell was the second when his defiant 21 (12 balls), which included the only two sixes of the innings, ended in pursuit of the third with another smart catch by Jacks at long on.
At a nightmare 66 for six after ten overs, Gloucestershire needed a big final over. It didn’t come and the staccato innings was summed up by the last ball from Topley which Graeme van Buuren hoisted straight to deep extra cover.
Jacks and Roy launched Surrey’s reply with three fours in the first over, from van Buuren, but Gloucestershire fought tigerishly. Roy fell to a brilliant catch by Howell, taken over his shoulder at mid-wicket, and Jacks (16, 11 balls) was bowled by a full toss by David Payne.
When Laurie Evans chopped Howell to point, in an over that cost just three runs, it was 41 for three from six overs and Surrey had work still to do. But Rory Burns is a pretty accomplished batsman to have coming in at five and he delivered a calm unbeaten 12 from nine balls as Foakes struck a run-a-ball 20 and Surrey reached their target with more than an over to spare.