Nottinghamshire95 for 5 (Christian 30, Hales 29) beat Lancashire 94 for 4 (Croft 33) by 16 runs
Given the timings and length of games on what became Finals Half-Day, two teams were bound to be leaving Edgbaston around Sunday evening wondering why they had waited around for a day and a half. In the first semi-final it was Gloucestershire; in the second it was Lancashire after the match between the sides with the most T20 victories in the history of England’s shortest format was ended in the most brutal fashion by Dan Christian, who whacked four consecutive sixes into the Hollies Stand off Liam Livingstone’s eighth over of the innings. The Outlaws skipper thus made good use of the short boundary and capitalised on Dane Vilas’s decision to bowl the off-spinner after a similar choice at Chester-le-Street last summer was the prelude to an onslaught by Ravi Bopara and his Lancashire’s quarter-final defeat to Essex. With four overs to go Notts needed 29 runs. It looked a decent game until then.
Croft’s Original Skills
Lancashire’s batsmen maintained a steady rate of around eight runs per over throughout their innings. After nine balls they had scored more runs than Gloucestershire had managed in the 20 of their earlier Powerplay and Alex Davies’ two straight-driven boundaries were a declaration of intent by Old Trafford’s batsman of the season in short-form games. But having thus declared, Davies quickly departed, well caught above his head at backward square leg by Steven Mullaney off Samit Patel for 15.
Notts Outlaws stuck to their spin attack – four of the first six overs were sent down by twirlers – but Lancashire tucked in when they could and collected singles when they couldn’t.
Steven Croft smacked his first ball for four through the covers and his third over long on for six. And after six overs Lightning appeared decently placed on 54 for 1. Livingstone lifted Matt Carter over backward square leg but then perished in the same over and same region, caught by Jake Ball on the boundary for 22.
At no point in the first half of the game did Lancashire’s innings lose momentum yet at no point did they really cut loose in the fashion later managed by Notts. Croft’s 22-ball 33 was a noble effort from a loyal cricketer but he perished in the tenth over, caught at deep midwicket by Zak Chappell who was subbing for Chris Nash who had earlier gone off with a leg injury.
Imad Wasim was clearly the pick of the Notts attack: he bowled his three overs at a cost of 18 runs while his four colleagues all of whom bowled two overs went for between 16 and 20. Nonetheless, Lancashire’s total of 94 for 4 looked a fair target; they had after all scored 20 runs off the last 17 balls of their innings without hitting a boundary.
At no stage of their innings were Nottinghamshire behind the required rate. Ben Duckett’s six over long-on in Tom Hartley’s first over helped and so did Alex Hales’ cut for four off Luke Wood’s second. But the Notts batsmen had hardly started; when Saqib Mahmood came on at the City End Hales upper-cut him into the stands at third man. Duckett departed in the same over, caught by Croft at deep midwicket for 13, but Joe Clarke lifted his second ball from Mahmood for six over long-off and at the end of the Powerplay the Outlaws were 41 for 1. It was a substantial 13-run advantage and it looked even better when they had racked up 49 off four overs.
Hales was bowled for 29 by a classic leg-spinner from Matt Parkinson but any impetus or inspiration Lancashire took from that seemed to have been dispelled a few minutes later when Clarke lifted Hartley into the stands. However, Hartley, whose emergence has been one of the successes of Lancashire’s season, responded by having Tom Moores caught at long-on by Vilas for 1 and then by bowling Clarke with a ball of full length for 17. After another tight over from Parkinson, Notts needed 29 runs off 24 balls, at which point Christian eyed the short boundary and saw that an off-spinner was coming on. Parkinson had Christian stumped for his 13-ball 30 only for Imad Wasim to end the game next ball.
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