Royals seal 10-run win despite Miller’s brilliance.
With 14 needed from the final over, Chris Wood kept his nerve to take three wickets and lead his side to their second Friends Life t20 trophy in three years.
Chasing 151 to win Yorkshire could only manage 140-8, despite a superb unbeaten 72 from David Miller which came off just 46 balls and included ten boundaries.
Miller along with Tim Bresnan had given Yorkshire a chance and with two overs left with the required run rate down to just over 10, Yorkshire were probably slight favourites.
When Wood had Bresnan caught with the first ball of the 20th over, the game was almost up and despite the batsmen crossing, Miller and Rich Pyrah could only take three singles off the next three deliveries before Wood finished things off by removing both Pyrah and Azeem Rafiq to start the celebrations.
The loss was tough on Miller, who after being Yorkshire’s top scorer in this year’s tournament with 390 runs at 48.75, looked for a stage like he was single-handedly going to win the white roses their first silverware in a decade.
After coming in with his side struggling at 3-38 following the dismissals of Andrew Gale (15), Joe Root (7) and Phil Jaques (11), Miller picked up where he had left off after his vital 47 in the semi-final and started strongly and hit a four off the fifth ball he faced.
With the loss of semi-final hero Jonny Bairstow (caught behind off Briggs for just 3) and with the run rate forever rising, a Yorkshire win was becoming even more unlikely with each delivery that went by, but with 98 still needed off the final 9 overs – Miller began his assault.
Joined by Gary Ballance, he added 40 for the fifth wicket with the highlight being the 12th over, where he hit Sean Ervine for three sixes in four balls to take 19 off the over and reduce the run rate to less than ten. Once Ballance had fell for a scratchy 7 0ff 16 balls the fight looked over but Miller kept his foot on the accelerator and nearly pulled off a one man great escape for Carnegie.
Earlier in the piece, Jimmy Adams (43) and James Vince (36) had given the Royals a great platform for a good score on a sluggish wicket, getting together to add 47 for the second wicket after Michael Carberry was bowled by Ryan Sidebottom for eight. Once Adams was dismissed by Pyrah, Neil McKenzie soon followed, struck in front by Rafiq for only four and a rebuilding job was again on hand as Vince and Ervine added a vital 37 before the former was bowled by Moin Ashraf.
In the end 150 looked a tough score to chase under pressure in a final and it eventually proved so, but if not for the efforts of Miller, Yorkshire wouldn’t have gotten close.
Sussex v Yorkshire: Earlier in the day, an unbeaten 45-ball 68 from England batsman Bairstow steered Yorkshire to a competitive 172-6 against Sussex, who in reply could only muster 136-8 despite the best efforts of Chris Nash, who lacked support during his 80 not out.
Winning the toss Yorkshire chose to bat in their first ever t20 finals day. But they soon found themselves in trouble as captain Gale holed out to mid-on for 11 to give Scott Styris the first of his three wickets in a tight spell of 4-1-22-3. Jaques was the next to go before the score had hit 20 as he missed a straight one from Styris for just 2, this was followed by the exit of Root who hit two fours before playing around another straight one from Styris to fall leg before for a disappointing 11.
With Yorkshire struggling at 3-36 after six overs, enter Miller and Bairstow, who after playing themselves in, began to hit boundaries at will during their 82-run partnership, which spanned 10-overs. Once Miller departed (caught in the deep off the bowling of Nash) for a momentum-building 47 from 35 deliveries, Bairstow continued his dominance with three 6’s to take the score past 150. Ballance and Bresnan came and went in quick succession, both falling to Chris Liddle but Bairstow was joined by Pyrah who helped see the innings past 170.
In reply it was vital Sussex didn’t lose early wickets, but they did. Both Luke Wright (3) and Matt Prior (2) were back in the hutch with just 15 on the board as Yorkshire sensed blood. Nash was then joined by the veteran Murray Goodwin and the pair added 40 for the third wicket before Goodwin picked out Ballance at long-on off the bowling of Pyrah for 15.
While Nash continued to score freely, his partners didn’t. First Joe Gatting was bowled by Pyrah for 3 before the dangerous Styris followed him, caught by Ballance off the bowling of Rafiq for 8 and the single figure scores didn’t stop there as Matt Machan (7) fell to Bresnan and Michael Yardy (2) and Will Beer (3) were both run out, leaving Nash stranded and Sussex 36 short.
Hampshire v Somerset: In the second semi-final, a vital partnership of 54 from Katich and Ervine saw Hampshire home as they chased down Somerset’s below par 125-6 with six wickets and an over to spare to book their place in the final and pour more heartache on the men from Taunton.
Batting first, Somerset regularly lost wickets as their line-up of star-studded hitters one by one found ways of gifting their wickets away against an effective and disciplined Royals attack.
Only Craig Kieswetter, who batted throughout the innings for his unbeaten 63, resisted. First to fall was powerful South African Richard Levi, who could only manage a single before he chipped the excellent Mascarenhas (4-0-11-2) to Katich at mid-on. Mascarenhas soon claimed his second victim as former England servant Marcus Trescothick, who had just hit a four and six, chopped on for a disappointing 12.
James Hildreth soon followed his captain to the pavilion as he was bowled behind his legs in Briggs first over. Jos Buttler was next in to join Kieswetter and hit two boundaries before becoming Ervine’s first scalp, bowled for 16. Just two overs later and Peter Trego (1) was pinned in front to become Ervine’s second wicket. Lewis Gregory (9) soon came and went, run out by Adams attempting a nonexistent second, leaving his side 90-6 with four overs remaining.
Arul Suppiah scored a quick-fire 12 and Kieswetter added 17 more to add some late runs to the innings, but in reality 125 was never going to be enough.
Carberry got his side off to a flying start in their reply, hitting Alfonso Thomas for three fours in his first over. Carberry continued to hog the strike ahead of Adams, but it was Adams (9) who fell first, smashing Steve Kirby to midwicket where Buttler took an outstanding catch. Carberry and Vince then looked to consolidate by knocking around the ones and twos whilst still keeping up with the required run rate and they appeared to be in no trouble until Vince (7) was bowled playing across the line in legspinner Max Waller’s first over.
Carberry was then joined by McKenzie and the partnership had barely began before a mix up ended Carberry’s stay at the crease, ran out for a promising 33.McKenzie (10) added 20 with fellow veteran Katich before falling lbw to Gregory, who bowled well in his two overs.
The experienced Katich then played a calm hand alongside Ervine, with both men looking to put away the bad ball and work the others around – the run rate never raised over eight.
The deciding over in the chase was the 17th. Bowled by the experienced Thomas who was brought back into the attack to create some pressure, it went for 11 as Ervine hit two fours to shift the momentum totally in favour of the men in yellow.
The 18th over also went for 11 as Ervine helped himself to another eight runs before taking 10 off the penultimate over as he finished unbeaten on 34 alongside Katich on 32, the rest as they say, is history.