Notts Outlaws are the 2017 champions of the NatWest T20 Blast competition.
Dan Christian’s side lifted their second piece of silverware of an incredible season, after defeating Birmingham Bears by 22 runs in the final at Edgbaston.
The win was set up by a thrilling partnership of 132 between Brendan Taylor and Samit Patel to lead the Outlaws to a formidable 190 for four from their 20 overs.
Taylor was dismissed for 65 from 49 balls and Patel remained undefeated on 64, made from just 42 deliveries. Chris Woakes was the pick of the Bears’ attack, taking three for 29.
Birmingham lost three wickets in the powerplay overs and, although Sam Hain hit a battling half century, they weren’t able to get back on terms and could only reach 168 for eight at the end of a pulsating day of cricket.
Hain scored 72 from 44 balls but he was over-shadwoed by a stunning all-round display by the Notts attack, led by Harry Gurney, who took four for 17, adding to the three wickets he’d taken in the semi-final, earlier in the day.
Notts announced an unchanged side at the toss, which took place around an hour after the semi-final victory over Hampshire. Again, Christian called incorrectly and Grant Elliott, the Bears skipper, asked the Outlaws to bat first.
In the third over Alex Hales pulled Chris Woakes to deep square leg where Sam Hain was adjudged to have touched the ropes and conceded a six as he attempted to take an athletic catch. Birmingham’s disappointment was temporary because Hales was bowled by the next delivery, for seven.
Three balls later Tom Moores pulled the England bowler to Dom Sibley on the leg side to leave Notts on 21 for two.
Riki Wessels went past Hales’ county record of 544 runs in a single T20 season and had moved to 19 when Woakes snared him as a third victim, with wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose taking a leg-side tickle.
Taylor and Patel joined forces in the fifth over and batted together for 56 minutes to swing the momentum towards the Royal London One-Day Cup champions and unbeaten Division Two leaders.
The former Zimbabwe captain reached his 50 from 42 balls, with six fours and a six, Patel reached his one delivery later, from 36, with three fours and three sixes.
Patel hit another six once Taylor had gone but the closing moments of the Notts innings were all about captain Christian, as he bludgeoned 26 not out from nine balls, with 23 coming from Stone’s final over.
Defending 190 the huge swathes of Outlaws supporters in the stands were soon celebrating as Harry Gurney bowled Dom Sibley in the second over.
In the earlier semi-final Patel ran out Michael Carberry with a direct hit from mid-off and he repeated his accuracy from the same position in the final to send back the dangerous Ed Pollock, who made 14.
Jake Ball sealed a close-to-perfect powerplay for Notts as he bowled Adam Hose, clattering over his stumps with sheer pace.
Sam Hain hit back-to-back maximums to revive hopes but lost his next partner cheaply as Grant Elliott fell lbw to his opposite captain for nine.
Colin de Grandhomme joined Hain in a stand of 55 to take the chase into the 16th over but when Gurney bowled the New Zealand international for 27, more than 70 were still required.
Hain’s terrific innings was ended by Gurney, thanks to a catch by Christian and the same bowler then removed the obdurate Aaron Thomas, who hit a punchy 26.
26 were still needed when the final over began but Ball then bowled Jeetan Patel and the celebrations could begin in earnest.
After fourteen unsuccessful years, Notts Outlaws are the new NatWest T20 Blast champions – many congratulations to all.