Nottinghamshire 129 for 4 (Duckett 53*) beat Surrey 127 for 7 (Roy 66, Christian 4-23) by six wickets
Nottinghamshire confirmed their status as the dominant force in English T20 cricket, sealing a second Blast title in four seasons by chasing down 128 with 16 balls to spare in a 16-over final against Surrey.
Fittingly, Ben Duckett and Dan Christian were their stars on the night: after his semi-final nightmare in 2019, Duckett leapt into the freezing Birmingham air to celebrate heaving Gareth Batty through straight midwicket for the winning boundary, before Christian, the club’s overseas player since 2015 and one of the format’s best captains worldwide, lifted him off his feet with a heartfelt embrace.
Notts have won more games that anyone else in the last four seasons of the Blast, and have reached the quarter-finals every year since 2015. They were the competition’s oldest side with an average age above 30 and more than 1700 T20 appearances between them – confirming captain Christian’s pre-tournament proclamation that “old blokes win stuff” – and the only team to field two overseas players throughout.
Their triumph this year came despite the injury-enforced absence of Harry Gurney for the whole competition; Jake Ball, the Blast’s leading wicket-taker, might not have got a game had Gurney been fit. While Surrey had been earmarked as favourites by some after a nine-game winning streak, Notts were the rightful victors.
Roy, Evans lead recovery
After being asked to bat first, Surrey struggled to find their gears. Hashim Amla, recalled after being left out of their semi-final win, eked out 3 off 10 balls, surviving a stumping chance only to hole out to cover immediately after, while Jason Roy was dropped by Peter Trego on 2. When Will Jacks skied a catch to Christian, running back at mid-off, Surrey were 24 for 2 after their 4.5 overs of Powerplay; Samit Patel, who took 1 for 25 from his four overs, was particularly frugal.
But Roy and Laurie Evans counterpunched, adding 90 in a violent third-wicket stand that lasted only 8.4 overs. Perhaps unexpectedly, it was Evans who was the main aggressor, scoring heavily through wide mid-on and extra cover and finding the middle of the bat almost every ball.
Roy, meanwhile, was more sedate, but still accelerated up to a strike rate of 140, tucking into Nottinghamshire’s spinners and pounding boundaries over the off side. With the two of them set heading into the final four overs, 160 was on the cards.
Christian pulls it back
After Imad Wasim’s final over went for only eight runs, Evans holed out to deep midwicket off Christian, and Surrey’s lack of middle-order hitters became apparent. Jamie Overton was promoted to No. 5, but felt first ball courtesy of a superb flying catch by wicketkeeper Tom Moores, before Ball went round the wicket to trap Roy lbw.
In Christian’s final over, Ben Foakes picked out Duckett at deep midwicket, and when Liam Plunkett – strangely batting below Foakes and Rory Burns – holed out to Alex Hales at long-on, Surrey had managed 24 for 5 in the final four overs, without hitting a single boundary.
Notts’ shaky start
Following an underwhelming run in the Blast, Hales had signalled his intentions to finish with a flourish ahead of the quarter-finals. But after being bowled by the Parkinson twins in the quarter and the semi, he pulled the first ball of the chase to deep square leg to give Reece Topley an early breakthrough.
Joe Clarke slog-swept Will Jacks straight to deep backward square leg in the second over, and Samit Patel, promoted to No. 4 after languishing at No. 8 for most of the tournament, holed out to Burns at long-on twice in three balls: the first chance was spilled, the second gobbled up.
That left Notts in a hole at 19 for 3 after 3.3 overs, with Trego – 14 months after his last Blast appearance and in his first T20 for his new club at the ripe old age of 39 – striding out at No. 5.
Duckett rights a wrong
Duckett sank to his haunches on Finals Day last year, failing to lay bat on ball needing only a single off the last ball of the semi-final against Worcestershire. Here, promoted to open after Chris Nash’s injury and with wickets tumbling around him, he continued to attack Surrey’s spinners in particular, pulling powerfully to keep things ticking.
As Trego freed his arms, flaying a 21-ball 31 and cashing in against Overton and Plunkett’s wayward middle overs, Duckett happily ticked over, taking responsibility in a way that he had failed to last season. After Trego was incorrectly given out lbw to Daniel Moriarty, Duckett and Christian came together and decided not to risk taking the game into the last over, as they had in the nerve-jangling quarter-final against Leicestershire.
Instead, they added 47 in 26 balls for the fifth wicket, punishing drag-downs and slot balls in ruthless fashion. With seven to win from the final three overs, Duckett nailed Batty for two boundaries through the leg side and set off in celebration. With the government’s 10pm curfew in place, celebrations will be confined to the dressing room, but it seems unlikely that Notts will care.
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