The domestic T20 final (how reassuring, yet surprising, that it’s not nauseatingly billed as the grand final) featured the pre-season favourites Somerset (9-2) and the pre-season long shots Leicestershire (40-1). After the rain-influenced dramas of the two semi-finals, the organisers and the spectators would have been pleased that the rain had blown away to allow a full match that ended at a reasonable hour.
For the second time in the day, Marcus Trescothick won the toss and chose to field. Will Jefferson again top scored for Leicestershire, but in truth Somerset bowled and fielded very well and never let Leicestershire accelerate fully. The midlands side were probably also hampered by their decision to alter the batting order from that which had served them well in the tournament thus far. Nonetheless, Murali Kartik was particularly fine in conceding only 14 runs from his four overs of spin. The score of 145/6 was generally regarded as a little on the light side, given the depth and pedigree of Somerset’s batting line-up.
Indeed, the top order did well as they reached 80/2 from 12 overs, with James Hildreth and Peter Trego looking comfortable. But Josh Cobb had Hildreth caught on the boundary and the following over Trego tried to swipe a ball from Wayne White that took a thick edge. The 40-year old wicketkeeper Paul Nixon, in his final match, took off to his right, diving low and taking the ball just as it looked to have past him. It was a truly memorable catch and a fine ending to this adored stalwart of the English game. From thereonin Somerset lost composure and thrice more lost wickets caught sub (Boyce) bowled Cobb on the mid wicket boundary. A flurry of wickets also means a stalling run rate and by the final over, Somerset still required 25 runs with two wickets left. They could not achieve the impossible and ultimately Leicestershire won by 18 runs. Cobb was awarded man of the match for his 4-22 (this after a golden duck to the first ball of the day), but Claude Henderson again deserved credit for conceding only 11 runs from his allocation of overs.
This was Leicestershire’s third victory in the domestic T20 tournament- in a season where they are bottom of division two of the County Championship. It was also Somerset’s third consecutive defeat in domestic limited overs finals (and third consecutive defeat in the T20 final).