The 2017 Nat West T20 Blast competition draws to its conclusion at Edgbaston on Saturday. What can cricket fans look forward to on Finals Day and which teams are still in contention?
T20 Blast Finals Day – Which Teams Are Battling for the Trophy?
Whether you’re heading to Edgbaston to watch the finals, or tuning in on TV, there’ll be plenty to see. The day’s match action starts at 11.00 a.m., when the Birmingham Bears take on Glamorgan in the first of the semi-final ties. Hampshire and Notts Outlaws will then fight it out for the remaining place in the final at 14.30. The semi-finals’ winners will then play to win the distinctive cricket trophy at 18.45.
Birmingham Bears and Glamorgan – Their Journey to the Semi-Finals
Birmingham, who made it into the knockout stages after finishing in third position on the North Division table, claimed their semi-final place by defeating Surrey by six wickets. The post-match talk, however, was all about a controversial incident in which Surrey’s Rory Burns claimed to have caught the Bears’ captain, Grant Elliott. The on-field call, however, was not out, and Jeremy Lloyds, the third umpire, refused to overturn the ruling.
“It’s a great win and we now have a fantastic opportunity with Finals Day on our home ground,” Elliott told the Birmingham Mail. “With the catch Burns claimed, they are always tough. I wasn’t sure so I left it to the umpires to make the decision.”
Glamorgan’s progress to the semi-final was slightly smoother than that of the Bears. They finished the group stage in style, topping the South Division table. They were then victorious against Leicestershire, winning their quarter-final tie at Cardiff’s SSE SWALEC by nine wickets. The Welsh side have only reached Finals Day once before, back in 2004, but they seem to be on a roll this year.
Speaking to the BBC, batsman Colin Ingram said: “We had to right the wrong from last year when we lost disappointingly here in the quarters, so it was nice to put on a good display for the crowd, to hear them chanting, and we can all get excited for Finals Day now.”
Hampshire and Notts Outlaws – Their T20 Blast Stories So Far
Hampshire, who finished third on the South Division table, flew into the semi-finals. They trounced their quarter-final opponents, Derbyshire, by 101 runs, largely thanks to a 42-ball century from Shahid Afridi. England international player, James Vince, added to Derbyshire’s pain by making 55 from 36 balls.
“In Twenty20 you can take chances,” Afridi told the BBC after the match. “Batsmen like me, who play aggressively, have to utilise those first six overs.”
Notts Outlaws looked to be struggling during the first half of their quarter-final match against Somerset, but pulled it back to eventually win by five wickets. The tie was not without controversy, with Outlaws and England player Alex Hales being given out for 14, to the disapproval of the fans. The team’s skipper, Dan Christian, admitted that they had all been upset by the incident, but stated that they knew they could still win.
“We were pretty confident after how well we bowled and we have chased 220 here before, and even after we lost those early wickets we knew we had depth in the shed,” he told the Nottingham Post.