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Willey ends Northants wait

By Rob Barnett and Chris Devine

David Willey starred throughout as Northants Steelbacks won their first major silverware since the 1992 NatWest Trophy by romping to Friends Life t20 glory with a 102-run demolition of Surrey in the Edgbaston final.

The 23-year-old son of former England international Peter Willey flayed the fastest fifty of this year’s competition, from 19 balls, before ending the game with a hat-trick for figures of 4-9 from 2.3 overs.

Willey junior bowled Jason Roy, perhaps Surrey’s best hope of a successful chase, for 13, ran out Steven Davies with a direct hit from long-on and caught Azhar Mahmood in the same position to leave the Londoners four down in their eighth over.

He returned to have Zafar Ansari and Jon Lewis held in front of square on the off side before Chris Tremlett was caught behind to spark wild celebrations from the Steelbacks, who defended 194 for two with more than four overs unused.

Northants’ total, made in a match reduced to 18 overs a side by rain, was the highest in a domestic Twenty20 final on these shores. It was also aided by unbeaten half-centuries from captain Alex Wakely and Cameron White, who shared an unbroken alliance worth 107.

The Steelbacks’ triumph is remarkable given they won just three format contests in the previous two seasons. This year they took the Midlands, Wales & West Group with seven victories from 10 before beating Durham Dynamos in the quarter-final.

They defeated Essex Eagles by seven wickets in today’s first semi, after which Surrey sneaked past 2012 champions Hampshire Royals by four wickets.

Vikram Solanki, standing in as Surrey skipper for the banned Gareth Batty, followed the formula that worked for the victorious semi-finalists by opting to chase this evening.

Opening only because Kyle Coetzer missed the showpiece with a wrist injury, Willey’s innings was interrupted by a near hour-long rain delay at 37 for one from four overs after Richard Levi was bowled by Azhar.

In the next over Willey hit Jade Dernbach for four consecutive boundaries and went on to pass 50 with his fourth six before holing out off Lewis for 60 from 27 deliveries.

Willey had shared a 28-ball half-century alliance with White, who emulated that milestone from 31 deliveries alongside Wakely. Wakely’s fifty subsequently arrived off 25 balls and he ended on 59 from 30 while White was unbeaten on 54 off 39.

Glenn Maxwell was the first Surrey wicket not to involve Willey as he was caught behind for a sprightly 29 off Steven Crook.

Forced to go for an accelerating required rate, Surrey’s middle order folded with Crook grabbing a second scalp and the competition's leading wicket-taker Muhammad Azhar Ullah striking once to extend his tally to 27.

Willey fittingly had the last word with just the second hat-trick in these finals, completed by wicketkeeper David Murphy's stunning right-handed catch.

Match Scorecard

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Surrey Innings

Watch highlights of the Friends Life t20 final between Northants Steelbacks and Surrey at Edgbaston

10:01pm - WICKET! Ansari c Crook b Willey 6; Surrey 92/8 (13.1 overs) - Willey gets another as Ansari skies to point. This is unlikely to last much longer.10:02pm - WICKET! Lewis c Middlebrook b Willey 0; Surrey 92/9 (13.2 overs) - And now he's on a hat-trick!! Surely not?!10:03pm - END OF MATCH - Tremlett c Murphy b Willey 0; Surrey 92 all out (13.3 overs) - NORTHANTS WIN BY 102 RUNS AND ARE FRIENDS LIFE T20 CHAMPIONS!!! - He's only gone and done it!!! David Willey rounds off a sensational individual display and a Northants rout by having Chris Tremlett acrobatically caught behind. Unbelievable scenes at Edgbaston!!!

9:59pm - WICKET! Wilson b Crook 14; Surrey 92/7 (12.5 overs) - Followers of Northants will have dreamed about an evening like this for some time. Not only are their side set to claim some silverware; they are on course to do so in sensational style. Crook cleans up Wilson and Surrey need 103 from 31 balls with three wickets in hand.

9:51pm - A slog-swept maximum from Wilson brings predictably loud cheers. However, Northants are unlikely to mind at this stage. The asking rate is now 16 an over.

9:48pm - WICKET! Solanki c Duckett b Middlebrook 12; Surrey 72/6 (10.1 overs) - It's a procession! With no choice but to hit out, Vikram Solanki finds England Under-19 skipper Ben Duckett at long-off.

9:44pm - WICKET! De Bruyn c White b Daggett 4; Surrey 70/5 (9.3 overs) - This just about sums it all up. Cameron White initially spills a catch at backward point, but reacts superbly to grasp the ball at the second attempt. Crowd favourite Gary Wilson walks in. Goodness only knows what the atmosphere will be like if he gets Surrey home from here.

9:42pm - Two tight overs from James Middlebrook have taken Northants closer to glory. The chasing side need 126 from nine overs.

9:36pm - WICKET! Azhar Mahmood c Willey b Azhar Ullah 2; Surrey 59/4 (7.5 overs) - Willey now has a wicket, a run-out and a catch in addition to his stunning 60. Surrey are surely doomed here.

9:29pm - WICKET! Maxwell c Murphy b Crook 29; Surrey 53/3 (6 overs) - Powerful straight hits from Maxwell bring six and four but Steven Crook then induces a nick through to the wicketkeeper and Surrey are three down.

9:26pm - WICKET! Davies run out 8; Surrey 38/2 (5.1 overs) - You can't keep Willey out of the game! A direct hit from long-on accounts for Steven Davies. Willey initially mis-fielded but made amends in some style.

9:24pm - CHANCE! - Lee Daggett almost strikes in his first over but is unable to take a sharp return chance offered up by Maxwell.

9:21pm - Maxwell's not giving this up. Facing Muhammad Azhar Ullah, he clears long-off for the first maximum of the innings and then collects six more next ball over fine-leg.

9:13pm - WICKET! Roy b Willey 13; Surrey 17/1 (2.2 overs) - Just when you thought Willey's night couldn't get any better, he finds some inward movement to bowl Roy. Glenn Maxwell is next in.

9:08pm - Jason Roy, who is more than capable of scoring at the required rate, flays David Willey past cover in an opening over yielding eight.

9:05pm - Can Surrey prevail chasing a mammoth target of 195? It's time to find out.

Northants Innings

8:54pm - END OF INNINGS - Northants 194//2 (18 overs); Wakely 59, White 54 - This just gets worse for Surrey. A no-ball is called when only three fielders are in the ring and Azhar's subsequent bouncer is adjudged to be a wide. The century partnership between Wakely and White comes up from the penultimate delivery of the innings before White finishes things in style with a stunning pulled six that takes him past 50 from 39 balls. Northants are surely huge favourites now.

8:47pm - Two wides from Dernbach, in an otherwise decent set of six, leave Surrey with even more to do. He finishes with 0-55 and the score reads 176 for two with an over to come.

8:42pm - FIFTY! Wakely (25b 7x4 2x6) - Wakely has lost little in comparison with Willey and moves past 50 off the first ball of the 17th over with an inside edge past the wicketkeeper. Northants now have 169.

8:38pm - White joins the party with a stunning straight six off Azhar!

8:36pm - Another poor delivery from Dernbach, a full-toss on the hip, is flicked through fine-leg by Wakely, who then clears the ropes at cow corner. Dernbach has now conceded 44 in three overs and Northants have 153 on the board after 15. This will take some chasing!

8:31pm - Wakely looks to be in great nick. He pulls de Bruyn for another boundary before squirting a full delivery to the backward point fence. Young English talent has done the job for the Steelbacks so far.

8:27pm - It has not been a good evening for Dernbach thus far. Having conceded 20 in his first over, he is the victim of a powerful pull from Wakely that flies over the midwicket rope like a tracer bullet. With five overs to come, Northants are 127 for two.

8:21pm - A remarkably fine late cut from White brings four more and Wakely then clears mid-off with a cross-batted swipe before edging past short third man. The runs keep on coming. 

8:14pm - Poor Zander de Bruyn. He finds the edge of new man Alex Wakely but there are no slips in place and the ball races to the right of wicketkeeper Steven Davies for four. Northants still have the big-hitting Steven Crook to come and remain on course for a healthy total. 

8:09pm - WICKET! Willey c Wilson b Lewis 60; Nor 87/2 (8.4 overs) - The extremely popular Wilson ends Willey’s whirlwind innings, holding his nerve to take a skier to deep point off Lewis.

8:06pm - Northants end the eighth over on 84 for one. Cameron White is at the crease but this has been The David Willey Show up to now. He now has 60 and is striking the ball beautifully.

8pm - FIFTY! Willey (19b 5x4 4x6) - Willey drills Jon Lewis back over the bowler's head for his fourth maximum, bringing up a stunning 19-ball half-century, the fastest of the competition. What a time to hit top form! And to think, he's only opening because Coetzer is injured.

7:58pm - CHANCE! - The Gary Wilson Fan Club cheers loudly as Surrey’s Ireland international twice fields in front of the boisterous Eric Hollies Stand. Willey is then given a let-off when Chris Tremlett fails to take a return chance.

7:54pm - With two overs having been taken from each innings, Jade Dernbach gets us under way again. Willey carries on where he left off with a clean thump over wide long-on for six followed by a lofted shot past mid-off for four more. Successive aerial fours through point follow and the over yields 20 in total. Northants are 57 for one from five and Willey has 43 off 16 deliveries!

7:40pm - If the rain does not return, play will resume in 10 minutes with both sides batting for 18 overs.

7:38pm - We are now losing overs, so this will be the first domestic t20 final where Duckworth/Lewis comes into play.

7:25pm - And now we have the Time Warp at Edgbaston, but sadly no play. It is raining once again.

7:23pm - Enthusiastic dancing is the order of the day in the Eric Hollies Stand as 'YMCA' blasts out over the tannoy. ecb.co.uk did not expect to be typing that sentence this morning...

7:12pm - The rain has eased and it is much clearer. We are set to restart at 7:25pm with no overs lost.

7:02pm - RAIN STOPS PLAY; Nor 37/1 (4 overs) - That's a real shame. The rain is heavier now and only one more delivery is possible before the umpires are forced to call a halt.

7pm - WICKET - Levi b Azhar 14; Nor 37/1 (3.5 overs) - David Willey clears mid-off before top-edging a pull over backward square-leg for Northants’ second maximum. A more convincing stroke over wide long-on makes it 16 from three balls for the left-hander but Azhar hits back by taking out Levi’s off pole with one that nipped back.

6:56pm - Both openers collect fours before a stunning pull from Richard Levi off Chris Tremlett flies into the Eric Hollies Stand for six.

6:48pm - Surrey open up with left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari, whose nerveless innings sealed their place in the final. He concedes just one in a fine first over. Drizzle is falling once again.

Pre-Play News

6:43pm - The two teams shake hands on the outfield and we are ready to begin! David Willey and Richard Levi, who hit 57 in Northants' semi-final, will open the batting.

6:30pm - Play is due to start in 15 minutes in the 2013 Friends Life t20 final. It is Northants Steelback’s first domestic Twenty20 showpiece and Surrey’s fourth, although they were only successful at the inaugural final in 2003.

6:20pm - SURREY WIN THE TOSS AND BOWL - Stand-in skipper Vikram Solanki calls correctly and follows the formula that has worked for both semi-final winners.

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