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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Twenty20 proves sheer purrfection
By Anna Thompson
BBC Sport at Trent Bridge

They came, they saw, they got plastered at the Twenty20 Cup final.

Atomic Kitten perform at the Twenty20 Cup
Atomic Kitten provided a musical interlude for the fans

A carnival of cricket came to Trent Bridge on Saturday, and it was a survival of the fittest both out on the pitch and in the beer stakes.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has hit the jackpot with a truncated, but highly entertaining form of the game.

But it seemed many people could not care less who won the trophy - except for the Surrey fans.

Instead, they were enjoying the face painting, hair colouring and various other entertainments - all provided free of course.

Three matches in one day meant it was a mammoth cricket feast in what, ironically, is supposed to be a snack-sized version of the game, but the 15,000 sell-out crowd held up well in the heat.

It was a rather subdued start when Leicestershire underperformed against Warwickshire in the first semi-final to earn themselves an early return home just a few few miles across the Midlands.

James Ormond takes a wicket
The force was with Surrey's James Ormond in the final

The second semi between Surrey and Gloucestershire was much closer and certainly warmed the crowd up.

They were in full flow when popstrels Atomic Kitten and then United Colours of Sound whipped them into a frenzy ahead of the final.

And it seemed at the Twenty20 you had to be more of a musical maestro than a cricket connoisseur.

It was hard to keep up with the sound engineer who had an inspired choice of music which included Supertramp, Katrina and the Waves, Pig Bag and U2 to greet boundaries, sixes and wickets.

The final was an anti-climax as Surrey achieved their target in a flurry of fours and sixes accompanied with some fine soundbites.

But Twenty20 has been a success in bringing children and women - the target audience - to the game.

Caleb Mierkalns, a 14-year-old from Nottingham, was supporting Warwickshire because his own county had not made finals day.

Caleb Mierkalns, Robert Matthews, Martha Roberts
Caleb Mierkalns and friends show off their new hairstyles

He had a thoroughly good time with his friends, Robert Matthews and Martha Roberts, who all had their hair coloured and styled three times in one day.

"I think the Twenty20 is a great innovation which should be made into an international tournament," Caleb told the BBC website.

The winning boundary was struck by Mark Ramprakash, signalling a quick burst of Roy Orbison's 'It's Over'.

Twenty20 maybe over until next season but there is no doubt it will be back bigger and better next year - with a whole new army of fans to boot.

Many adults and parents may have been flagging at the end of the day but the majority of children were still enjoying the cricket party and rightly so.



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