Notts Outlaws 129/4-127/7 Surrey (T20 Blast Final) 04.10.20
Notts Outlaws 95/5-94/4 Lancashire Lightning (T20 Blast Semi Final) 04.10.20
Nottinghamshire are Vitality Blast T20 Champions for the second time in four years and once again the Outlaws prove to the rest of the country that Peter Moores’ team are the best in the shortest format of white ball cricket.
It was a painful weekend of rain delays but the semi-final eventually got under way on Sunday evening with Notts knowing they’ll be facing Surrey in the final should they beat Lancashire.
In a game reduced to 11 overs Notts restricted Lancs to 94/4 with two wickets for Matt Carter the pick the bowling.
In return Ben Duckett and Alex Hales had the first 30 runs scored within three overs as they battered down the doors of the Lightning attack. Duckett went for 13 before Hales out for 29 with Notts 50/2 with 4.3 overs played.
Moores went for one and nerves might have crept in but they were washed away by Joe Clarke (17) and Dan Christian (30) hitting four successive sixes in the process, who edged Notts nearer to target before Samit Patel (4 not out) and Imad Wasim (1 not out) saw the side over the line with little under three overs to spare.
In the final things weren’t quite so straight forward as Jason Roy took on the Notts attack for Surrey in a 16 over match. Haseem Amla was out early bowled Patel caught Christian for just three and when Will Jacks followed it looked like Notts were in control. A partnership however of 90 between Roy and Evans took Surrey past the hundred but Evans went to Christian for 43 and Overton followed next ball and as Roy was next taken by Ball for 66 from 47 balls a collapse in the final overs left Surrey short of runs.
Foakes went for one with Plunkett going last ball both to Christian who took marvellous figures of 4/23 from three overs, the Oval based outfit scoring 127 from their 16 overs.
A reachable target but when Hales went first ball hooking to Evans from Topley’s bowling it gave Surrey a sniff and as Joe Clarke went an over later for just 3 the Londoners were suddenly favourites.
Samit Patel followed and Notts were 19/3 from 3.3 overs but a fantastic partnership by Ben Duckett and Peter Trego who was making his Outlaws debut in the competition due to an injury to Chris Nash saw Notts restore confidence as they looked to edge the game away from their rivals.
Duckett was brilliant with the bat and Trego looked confident before Moriaty bowled him LBW for 31 with Notts 82/4 and needing a run a ball going into the final seven overs of the game. That allowed captain Dan Christian, the star of the day with wickets and sixes to come in and comfortably knock things around at one end whilst watching Duckett at the other end hitting eight boundaries to edge the Outlaws home.
The final four coming from the former Northamptonshire star with 16 balls remaining. Duckett carrying his bat for 53 (38 balls) whilst Christian hit 21 from 11.
A fantastic performance from the Outlaws who along with Surrey were certainly the best two teams in the Blast this year, a fitting final played by the best two sides and won by the 2017 winners to put their 2019 semi-final misery to the sword.
A complete package from their big bash star batting line-up that goes deep down into the lower order from it’s IPL quality bowling attack that can certainly mix it with the best in the world. Some players have stood out this year, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Dan Christian, Samit Patel, Jake Ball, Matt Carter, Imad Wasim to name a few, whilst others have had their moments too…. Mullaney, Hales, Nash, Trego, Fletcher have all provided moments of quality.
This star-studded team is simply the best of Britain, the English white ball champions a team seriously considered as one of the greatest in the 20 over format. Proud to be Notts, proud to be champs, well done everyone at Trent Bridge for another fantastic season with more silverware for the Pavilion.
*Main image @TrentBridge the winners of the 2020 Vitality Blast, Notts Outlaws.