Natwest T20 Blast – Finals Day report: Birmingham Bears crowned as Champions
Birmingham bears has been crowned as the Natwest T20 Blast Champions after they beat Lancashire in the Final on the Finals day which included the Semi Finals too by 4 runs. Andrew Flintoff who played for Lancashire after a comeback fought at the end with a little cameo but failed to see past the Victory.
Chasing a total of 182 to win the championship, Lancashire got a decent start from their top order. Prince and Smith gave a 41 run opening stand and Khawaja got a good start and stood at 102 for 3 with Butler and Brown at crease with 80 needed from 40 balls. But three quick wickets let the Lancs down but Brown wasn’t leaving it easily. Some big hits from Brown and Clark brought the Lancs back into the game but not before they lost both the batsman in span of three balls. With 28 needing of 10 it looked all tough but Flintoff’s back to back sixers in the penultimate over set up a last over thriller with 14 needing from it.
Flintoff was able to pick a couple of twos but Woakes was successfull to keep the dangerman off the strike as Lancashire could made just 9 from the over and eventually lost by 4 runs. Flintoff remained unbeaten on 20 off just 8 deliveries.
Earlier Birmingham Bears got of to a sparkling start led by Chopra after they chose to bat on winning the toss. However, Flintoff on other end seen the departure of Ian Bell on the first he bowled. Bears had partnerships going with Porterfield and Clarke getting starts. But Evans and Woakes who put on a stand of 63 off just 33 deliveries helping their team to put on 181 for 5.
Earlier in the day, Semis of the Tournament took place. In the first semis, Birmingham faced Surrey and Lancashire faced Hampshire in second semis.
Surrey couldn’t overcome Birmingham’s 194 and fell 16 run short despite of a thunder start from their openers especially JJ Roy who smokes a 25 ball 5 putting on 89 for the first wicket in jsut 44 balls. But their run rate gradually slowed down with the next batsmen took time to set and failed to convrt into big one. Kevin Pietersen was the big diasappointment as he scored just 13 playing 16 balls. In the end Robin Petersen‘s quick fire 21 could just change the winning margin.
Earlier, after been put into bat, Bears innings was powered to a huge total of 194 due to lights of a 42 ball 81 from Porterfield which was supported by a 17 ball 38 from Bell and decent innings from Clarke.
In a rain affected second semi final, Lancashire thumped down Hampshire quite easily. Been reduced to 3 for 2 in second over after been put into bat, Lancs recovered well thanks to a brilliant kncok from Prince who smoked a 53 ball 71 and got help from Brown who scored 41 and from Horton & Croft in the end and they put on 160 in 19 overs when the rain struck the game making a target of 143 for Hamps to be chased in 16 overs.
The Hamps were never in the game with Lancs’ bowlers kept taking wickets in regular intervals as Adams who kept the fight on scored a 53 and departed on 100 as 9th wicket after which they managed to put another run before been bowled out for 101 losing the game by 41 runs. Only other batsman to scored double figures was Carberry who managed to score 10.
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