The Vitality T20 Blast Finals Day offered plenty of drama as the last four remaining teams battled it out for glory at Edgbaston overnight.
The Inner Sanctum takes a look at how each of the four Aussies in action fared across the final matches of the tournament.
Semi Final 1 – Yorkshire v Lancashire
A high-scoring affair played out between these two sides in the opening semi-final of the T20 Blast. Powerful middle-order batter Tim David was the only Australian in action, representing Lancashire.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Yorkshire lost an early wicket, with opening batter Adam Lyth holding out in the deep in the first over of the match.
However, Yorkshire remained unfazed, scoring freely during the rest of the powerplay. A 61-run partnership between English international Dawid Malan and Tom Kohler-Cadmore laid the foundations for a big total to be posted.
Malan finished with 33 runs off 22 balls, whilst Kohler-Cadmore backed up his impressive quarter-final performance with 66 runs off 44 balls, anchoring Yorkshire’s batting innings.
Cameos from Shadab Khan (34 runs off 24 balls) and Jordan Thompson (50 runs off 18 balls) late in the piece lifted Yorkshire to a highly competitive total of 7-204 off its allotted 20 overs. Thompson’s blistering knock included a whopping six maximums, reaching his half-century off just 17 deliveries.
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Despite requiring over 10 runs an over from the outset, Lancashire remained in control of the run chase throughout its innings. Experienced duo Keaton Jennings (75 runs off 51 balls) and Dane Vilas (63* runs off 36 balls) combined for a match-winning 112-run partnership to give their side the upper hand.
David arrived at the crease with his team needing 24 runs off 23 deliveries and sought to finish the job quickly. The 26-year-old right-hander carved two boundaries through backward point, drawing his team within touching distance of a spot in the T20 Blast final.
He was eventually dismissed for 10 runs off six balls after being caught on the boundary rope, however, the win was all but sealed by then.
Lancashire’s six-wicket victory over Yorkshire signified its highest run chase in T20 cricket.
Semi Final 2 – Hampshire v Somerset
Hampshire’s clash with Somerset in the second semi-final promised plenty of fireworks, with both sides boasting powerful batting line-ups.
Hampshire opted to bat first after winning the toss, beginning in an aggressive fashion. Partnering James Vince at the top of the order, wicket-keeper batter Ben McDermott got off to a fast start, blasting his way to 31 runs off just 17 deliveries.
McDermott smashed two fours and three sixes, including a monstrous six off Somerset’s Jack Brooks over midwicket in the fourth over of the innings.
Hampshire continued to establish productive partnerships thereon, with Tom Prest top scoring with 64 runs off 46 deliveries to guide his team to a total of 6-190.
Veteran seam bowler Peter Siddle failed to have much of an impact from Somerset’s perspective, finishing with figures of 0-36 off three overs. The 37-year-old leaked 15 runs off his first over.
Chasing 191 runs for victory, Somerset struggled to generate any momentum in its run chase, losing wickets at regular intervals. The in-form pair of Tom Banton and Rilee Rossouw departed the crease before the eight-over mark, leaving plenty to do for Somerset’s middle-order batters.
It wasn’t to be for Somerset, falling short of the required target by 37 runs. Nathan Ellis was terrific with the ball for Hampshire, taking 3-30 off 3.3 overs.
Ellis collected Hampshire’s first wicket, dismissing Somerset’s opening batter Will Smeed in the third over of the innings. The 27-year-old right-arm seamer then sealed the win for his side at the death, picking up the final two wickets of the match in successive deliveries.
Final – Lancashire v Hampshire
The conclusion of this year’s edition of the Vitality T20 Blast certainly didn’t disappoint, with fans and spectators privy to a nail-biting contest between these two sides.
Sticking to a winning formula, Hampshire again elected to bat first after winning the toss. Unlike its semi-final encounter though, Hampshire found itself in trouble early in its innings, losing two wickets within the opening three overs of the match.
However, a superb individual batting display from Ben McDermott ensured that Hampshire was able to set a competitive total. McDermott amassed 62 runs off 36 balls, hitting four boundaries and four maximums to top score for his side and ultimately the match.
A late cameo from Chris Wood also proved vital, scoring an unbeaten 20 runs off 17 balls to propel Hampshire to a total of 8-152 off its 20 overs.
Leg-spinner Matt Parkinson was the pick of the bowlers for Lancashire, claiming impressive figures of 4-26 off four overs.
Requiring 153 runs to secure the T20 Blast title, Lancashire were ahead of the game in the early stages, with the score sitting at 1-72 off 7.3 overs but it was McDermott who again sparked a change in momentum, this time with the wicketkeeping gloves.
The 27-year-old grasped a catch between his legs down the leg-side, dismissing the dangerous Steven Croft for 36 runs.
From that point onwards, the match turned into somewhat of an arm-wrestle, with Hampshire’s bowlers tightening the screws. Tim David struggled to get going for Lancashire, only reaching eight runs off 11 balls before being dismissed.
As the match appeared destined to go right down to the wire, an epic finale ensued. With Lancashire requiring 13 runs to win off the final over, renowned death bowler Nathan Ellis was handed the responsibility of closing out the game.
The fourth ball of the over saw Ellis beat the bat of Lancashire’s Tom Hartley, with fellow Australian McDermott calmly executing a run-out behind the stumps to dismiss Luke Wood.
Defending five runs off the last ball of the match, Ellis bowled the perfect yorker, crashing into Richard Gleeson’s stumps and prompting wild celebrations amongst Hampshire players.
Yet, in an extraordinary turn of events, it was revealed that Ellis had overstepped, meaning the game was still in the balance. Nevertheless, Ellis was able to hold his nerve, executing a brilliant slower ball to beat the bat of Gleeson and secure an emphatic one-run win for his team.
McDermott’s match-defining batting innings saw him earn player of the match honours. He finshed his T20 Blast campaign with Hampshire having scored 494 runs at an average of 29.05.
Hampshire’s success represents its third T20 domestic title and first in a decade.
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