Hampshire beat Somerset in thrilling Twenty20 final
FRIENDS PROVIDENT t20 - FINAL, The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 173-5 (20 ovs) beat Somerset 173-6 (20 ovs) by virtue of losing fewer wickets Match scorecard
Hampshire celebrate their Friends Provident t20 success at The Rose Bowl
By Steve Marshall
Hampshire clinched the FP t20 title after beating Somerset in the final at The Rose Bowl by virtue of losing fewer wickets after the scores finished tied.
Craig Kieswetter top scored with 71 as Somerset posted 173-6.
After Jimmy Adams and Abdul Razzaq got Hampshire's reply off to a flier, Neil McKenzie (52) and Sean Ervine (44 not out) took them to the brink of victory.
But in a tense final over they needed a scrambled leg bye off the last ball to level the scores at 173-5 to win it.
In finally getting over the finish line, Hampshire became the first side to win the domestic Twenty20 title on home soil, while Somerset have now lost the last two finals.
Hampshire certainly did it the hard way after starting the penultimate over needing 11 to win, with South African McKenzie and Zimbabwean Ervine well set at 163-3.
Even when McKenzie spooned the first ball of the over, bowled by Ben Phillips, to Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick at cover, there was little sign of the drama to come.
But, two balls later, Ervine was dropped at deep square leg by substitute fielder Nick Compton, on for West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard who was taken to hospital after being hit on the head by a Dominic Cork bouncer in the final over of Somerset's innings.
Hampshire failed to heed that let off and off the following ball Michael Carberry could only top edge a hook and was caught by Kieswetter.
That brought Daniel Christian to the middle and he and Ervine edged Hampshire closer to their target, to the point where they needed four off the last two balls, bowled by Zander de Bruyn, for an outright win.
Christian clubbed the first to deep mid-wicket but pulled a hamstring coming back for a second.
Adams was sent out as runner and there was then a delay as the groundstaff had to come out to paint extra creases on the square.
By that stage, Hampshire were aware that one off the last ball would win them the final because they had lost fewer wickets.
De Bruyn appealed loudly for leg before after rapping Christian on the pads but it was turned down, and as the ball squirted away Ervine and runner Adams scrambled the single.
Hampshire had begun the day as the least fancied of the four semi-finalists despite having home advantage because of their inferior record in qualification.
They won eight and lost eight of their 16 games in the South Group, including losing twice to both Essex and Somerset, before sneaking past Warwickshire in the quarter-finals.
And they knew that in all likelihood they would be chasing a big target after Trescothick got his side off to a flier with 19 off eight balls before carelessly pulling Razzaq to Christian at mid-wicket.
Kieswetter, England's Twenty20 wicketkeeper, then took centre stage in Somerset's pursuit of runs, reaching his first Twenty20 half-century of the summer off 48 balls.
He was finally out caught at deep extra cover by Carberry off Christian, before Pollard provided the fireworks in the penultimate over, smashing Chris Wood for four followed by two successive sixes as Somerset reached the end of the 19th over on 170-4.
A score of more than 180 looked possible but Hampshire captain Cork put himself in the firing line to stem the flow and he managed it with aplomb, conceding only three runs and taking the wickets of Jos Buttler and Arul Suppiah either side of hitting Pollard with a bouncer, forcing him to retire hurt.
Adams and Razzaq then laid into the Somerset attacked as they helped their side to 62-1 at the end of the six over powerplay, their second best of the competition.
But after Razzaq sliced Trego high into the air to be caught by Kieswetter, Somerset made further inroads by running out James Vince first ball before Adams chopped Suppiah's first ball on to the stumps.
McKenzie and Ervine then steered their side to within sight of victory, which was finally secured in the most dramatic of fashions.
Jubilant Hampshire skipper Cork said: "I've never seen a last over like that. It had everything - changes of ball, runners, wickets, the lot.
"It was a chaotic last two overs but I'm proud of all the guys for taking us over that winning line.
"The young guys who've come in have transformed this side."
Referring to Hampshire's decision not to play England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who is looking to quit the county, he added: "We've been slaughtered throughout this campaign in some circles: why weren't we playing this person? Why weren't we playing that person?
"But with all the work that's been done bringing the young lads through the academy and then the 'Dad's Army' we've got, we're able to put a team out that can play against the best and beat them."
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