Ben Duckett and Dan Christian lead Nottinghamshire to second T20 Blast title as they beat Surrey by six wickets
- Nottinghamshire beat Surrey at Edgbaston to become T20 Blast champions
- In a match that was reduced to 16 overs a side, Surrey finished on 127-7
- England’s Jason Roy (66) and Laurie Evans (43) had a 90-run partnership
- Dan Christian took 4-23 but Notts lost Alex Hales to the first ball of their reply
- Ben Duckett scored unbeaten 53 as they reached to 129-4 with 16 balls to spare
Ben Duckett exorcised his personal demons by steering Nottinghamshire to their second Twenty20 Blast title a year after being part of a finals day choke.
England batsman Duckett struck an unbeaten 53 to canter the Outlaws to a six-wicket win over Surrey, having been at the crease when they fell a run short in what had appeared a comfortable chase against Worcestershire in the 2019 semi-final.
‘Coming up short and personally being there at the end when we lost meant it was a good feeling for me to get the boys over the line,’ said the 25-year-old.
‘Different people have stepped up at different points throughout the season and that’s been the key to our success.’
However, on the latest finish to an English domestic season since 1864, it was Dan Christian whose cameos with bat and ball won two man-of-the-match awards.
After the incessant wet weather that threatened to send Twenty20 finals day into the farce of bowl-outs subsided, the club’s Australian captain all but settled the second semi-final by spraying the empty Edgbaston stands with four successive sixes off Liam Livingstone.
The 37-year-old, who now faces two lots of fortnight-long quarantines before playing Down Under this winter, sandwiched that by contributing to boundary-less spells of 17 and 29 deliveries at the end of Lancashire and Surrey innings respectively.
In the floodlit finale, he finished with figures of four for 23, then followed up with an unbeaten 21 off 11 balls to celebrate with Duckett as he marked victory by reaching an unbeaten half-century.
The chase, completed with 16 deliveries unused and six wickets intact, had looked like being a stiffer test when the Outlaws lost three top-order wickets in reply to Surrey’s 127 for seven.
But, on a very different finals day to the ones of 25,000 full houses, Nottinghamshire came through just 72 hours after Leicestershire literally allowed quarter-final victory at Trent Bridge slip through their fingers with poor late fielding lapses.
In a see-saw contest, Surrey, English cricket’s inaugural T20 champions back in 2003, gained the upper hand through a revitalised Jason Roy, who struck a half-century from 36 balls, and short-form specialist Laurie Evans.
Roy put behind him a sorry international summer in which he mustered only 49 runs in six innings against Ireland and Australia by and thrashing the ball across the dewy outfield to the rope with regularity.
With Evans even more explosive in hitting a 23-ball 43, they threatened to post a score of 150-plus during a sequence of 80 runs in seven overs.
But Christian checked the momentum dramatically when he took the first of two wickets in an over, the 14th of the innings —Evans taking on the huge leg-side boundary and losing.
Roy followed next over and the difficulty new batsmen had in striking cleanly was emphasised by the lack of a single boundary at the death.
Nottinghamshire’s chase got off to the worst possible start when Alex Hales yelped ‘Oh no’ after picking out deep square leg first ball.
Hales had said something stronger upon his dismissal against Lancashire, for which Notts were warned a five-run penalty would be applied for further inappropriate language.
That might have been audible in the Notts’ dugout when Samit Patel failed to make the most of a reprieve two balls earlier by picking out the same man in Rory Burns at wide long-on.
It provided the golden arm of Will Jacks with a second wicket, and left Notts 19 for three in the fourth over.
However, Peter Trego — only playing because fellow veteran Chris Nash injured his shoulder fielding — joined Duckett for a rapid stand of 63 that was given a shot in the arm in the seventh over when Liam Plunkett was effectively taken for nine off one delivery after sending down consecutive no-balls.
It was decisive, plunging the required rate down to a run a ball and leaving Surrey captain Gareth Batty to admit: ‘We tried different things but you have to take your hats off to Notts and say, ‘Well played’.’