Essex win last-ball thriller to claim maiden T20 Blast title

Essex captain Simon Harmer excelled with ball and bat to secure a tense four-wicket victory for his team over Worcestershire as Essex clinched their maiden T20 Blast title in Birmingham on Sunday, 21 September.

Harmer was the overall star on an action-packed finals day, first picking up 4/19 against Derbyshire to help his team win the semi-final by 34 runs and then sparkling in both facets against Worcestershire.

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The off-spinner’s 3/16 helped restrict Worcestershire to just 145/9. He then walked out to bat at 129/6, with the odds seemingly tilted in the opposition’s favour – Essex needed 17 from eight balls.

Harmer seemed unfazed, though, smashing the first ball he faced from Pat Brown straight down the ground for a boundary. The final over was bowled by Wayne Parnell, who managed to keep the batsmen down to just ones and twos for the first four balls, bringing the equation down to six off two. Harmer then smacked the penultimate ball straight down the ground for four, and then finished things off with a marvelous square drive for another boundary.

Ravi Bopara was also instrumental to Essex’s triumph, taking 2/30 in his four overs before scoring 36* off 22 and giving the captain company as he hit the winning boundaries.

Earlier, Harmer turned things around with the ball, after Moeen Ali and Rikki Wessels had taken Worcestershire to 61/1. But Harmer shook things up by dismissing Moeen for a 26-ball 32 and Ben Cox the very next ball. He then dismissed Parnell to disrupt Worcestershire’s march.

In the earlier game against Derbyshire, he had accounted for Billy Godleman, Leus du Plooy, Anuj Dal and Daryn Smith to cut them well short of the required target of 161. Opener Cameron Delport was the star with the bat in that game, scoring a rapid 55 to put Essex on track for a good score.

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Moeen was the hero for Worcestershire in their semi-final against Nottinghamshire, scoring a rapid nine-ball 21 to power his side to 147/9 before producing a tight spell of 1/13, contributing heavily to his side’s thrilling one-run victory.

While Moeen played his part superbly, 21-year-old Pat Brown can claim a huge chunk of the credit for changing the course of what should have been an easy finish for Nottinghamshire.

The chasing team had required just 11 off the last two overs with eight wickets to spare, but Brown accounted for Dan Christian and Tom Moores in the space of four balls and conceded just four runs. Steven Mullaney’s run out in that same over didn’t help Nottinghamshire’s cause. Parnell then bowled an excellent final over to complete the heist.

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