Royals crowned t20 kings
Hampshire Royals took the inaugural Friends Provident t20 title in nerve-shredding scenes at the Rose Bowl as they scrambled the winning run to leave Somerset beaten finalists for the second year in a row, despite the totals being tied.
Confusion briefly reigned as Dan Christian completed a leg bye despite having just summoned a runner, but the hosts levelled the scores and triumphed courtesy of losing one less wicket.
Both sides made 173 in 20 overs but Hampshire lost only five wickets to snare their maiden domestic 20-over title.
Royals captain Dominic Cork, 39 last week, perhaps made the key contribution by taking 2-3 in the final over of Somerset’s innings as well as inadvertently ending Kieron Pollard’s involvement in the match with a nasty blow to the face.
Somerset seamer Alfonso Thomas, the competition’s leading wicket-taker, began frugally with the new ball but there were two Jimmy Adams boundaries off the second, bowled by Ben Phillips.
Zander de Bruyn was called upon to bowl in place of the stricken Pollard and shipped 16 in the fourth over, including a steepling six by Adams.
There were 17 off Phillips’ next, Abdul Razzaq responsible for all of them as he freed his arms.
The Pakistan all-rounder collected two more boundaries off Peter Trego before attempting one shot too many, looping a catch to Craig Kieswetter for 33.
Despite scoring at more than 10 an over during the powerplay the wicket rocked the hosts, who then had James Vince run out first ball.
That made it 62 for two and Hampshire advanced to 84 before Arul Suppiah removed Adams - the competition’s leading run-scorer - for 34 at the start of the 10th over.
Sean Ervine hit successive reverse sweeps for four off Murali Kartik as he and Neil McKenzie kept the scoreboard ticking at good pace.
The 14th over was expensive, the costly Phillips taken for three more boundaries as Ervine hit his stride.
McKenzie clipped Trego for four to keep the batting side in the box seat and followed up by flicking Thomas over the midwicket ropes to bring up the 150.
Phillips brought the late drama, seeing off McKenzie for 52 and Michael Carberry in the penultimate over to leave eight needed off the last six deliveries.
De Bruyn bowled nervelessly, but Kieswetter twice missed the stumps with the striker in no-man’s land to leave four needed from two balls.
There were two off the penultimate ball but Christian pulled a muscle making his ground, meaning Adams was required to re-enter the fray as a runner for the last ball of the match.
De Bruyn appealed for a close-looking lbw but both Adams and McKenzie completed the winning run.
However, Somerset were unaware that they could have run Christian out at the striker’s end, despite him reaching the other.
Kieswetter took the bulk of the strike in the early stages of Somerset’s innings but Marcus Trescothick made the best of what he did get, thrashing two sixes in a nine-ball cameo worth 19.
Trego helped Somerset to 47 for one at the end of the six powerplay overs.
Despite some clean hitting from the second-wicket pair, Hampshire guarded the ropes well and kept the boundary count in check.
Trego finally cut loose in the 11th over, hoisting Razzaq towards the replay screen for six.
Kieswetter followed that with a streaky four behind the wicket, bringing up the fifty-partnership in the process.
There were four more over mid-on for Trego but, when he went looking for another maximum off Danny Briggs on 33, he drew a stunning one-handed catch from Ervine.
Kieswetter brought up his half-century with a lofted straight six off Briggs and a four through backward point from Christian’s bowling.
He took 10 more off the 16th over and began the 17th with a muscular six off Razzaq, who claimed the wicket of James Hildreth thanks to a fine Christian catch.
Kieswetter’s stay ended when he lifted Christian to Carberry in the deep for 71, but that brought Pollard to the crease.
The West Indies all-rounder hit two sixes and a four to reach 22 off seven deliveries before Cork’s rearing bouncer left him nursing a nasty eye injury and on his way to hospital.