What a crazy finish to the Vitality T20 Blast regular season on Sunday! Birmingham shot out to a 191 for 5 at home at Edgbaston, led by Adam Hose’s 119, and had Northants on the ropes at 71 for 6 in the 10th over, cruising to an easy win that would have cemented their second place finish in the Central group and likely knocked out Northants. Then Tom Taylor and Graeme White took to batting and made up the remaining difference and won the game for Northants with 7 balls remaining. Just an incredible comeback win from that position. Meanwhile, Somerset was in Bristol against Gloucestershire clinging to a victory that would have also knocked out Northants and made the top of group between Gloucestershire and Birmingham decided by Net Run Rate had Birmingham hung on. The Gloucestermen were down 114 for 6 chasing 161 when Benny Howell joined Ian Cockbain in the 16th over, and Somerset’s position was looking pretty solid. Cockbain was on his way to an amazing 89 off 57 balls, and he and Howell contributed 34 runs to get it to 148-7 before Cockbain finally got out. Tom Smith joined Howell at the crease and they added 11 runs until Howell departed with one ball remaining and Gloucs down two runs. Smith managed to obtain the strike on Howell’s pop up to Lewis Gregory, leaving Ollie Sale one ball left to bowl to Smith, the 9th Gloucesterman in, with the quarterfinals on the line for both Somerset and Northants. Sale flung it just outside off stump, and Smith miraculously pulled it between deep long on and deep midwicket and found a gap and a boundary to win the game for Gloucs. Sale, a poor man’s Chris Hemsworth as Thor, crouched with his shoulders on his knees and flowing blond hair cascading on the hands on his face in utter dejection as Gloucestershire celebrated around him. What a series of two games happening simultaneously, both conspiring to eliminate Somerset from the Blast quarters. Oh well, Somerset still has the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s against Essex starting tomorrow, which is a pretty decent consolation.
The IPL got underway in UAE with a surprisingly easy win by CSK over Mumbai Indians, a superover win by Delhi over King’s XI, an actual good start by Virat Kohli’s Arsey Bees (RCB officially) as they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 10 runs, and a powerful 16-run thumping by Rajasthan over CSK to even the Super Kings record at 1-1.
Northern Diamonds and Southern Vipers will meet in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final next Sunday, September 27th after securing group stage victories on Sunday. The Vipers are undefeated and had little trouble with the South East Stars to get to 6-0. Five players had more than 30 runs each. The Diamonds clobbered the West Thunder by 6 wickets with 21 overs remaining. They’ve only lost one game this year. Should be an excellent match.
The England Women returned to action yesterday to beat the visiting West Indies Women by 47 runs in a T20I at Derby. There will be four more T20I’s between these sides with the last coming on September 30th. All will be at Derby.