One ball to go. Six to win. It was a straightforward equation for Samit Patel, clear the ropes or bust. Then Craig Miles bowled a full toss adjudged to be over waist height and bedlam and confusion ensued.
Patel clothed it for a single. The no ball was called. Bears captain Carlos Braithwaite was remonstrating with the square leg umpire, Nottinghamshire had three to win and Tom Moores was on strike. At this point Samit retired out, ambling back to the dug-out, presumably to bring on a faster runner to the non-strikers’ end, and so Calvin Harrison joined the fray. A free-hit was signalled. No one in the ground quite knew what was going on.
Craig Miles held his nerve and bowled an inch perfect yorker which Moores could only dig out for one to cover, and the Bears took the win.
In many ways these last two minutes of mayhem at Edgbaston were all part of the reward for a patient crowd. Heavy overnight rain meant a 2:30 start was always looking unlikely, but to say the drizzle that surrounded Edgbaston in the hours prior to the scheduled start was light, would be to overstate things. A pitch inspection at 3:30 declared a start at 4:30. The players warmed up in these unplayable conditions for 45 minutes, only for the aforementioned drizzle to return at 4:25.
So it was that an eight a side game was settled on and 5:05 start. 2 1/2 hours after the scheduled start with minimal communication throughout left many in the ground frustrated and others simply not there.
Once the game eventually started, it started with a bang. Paul Stirling picked out the deep square leg fielder with the first ball of the game. His opening partner Jacob Bethell went 4,6 in the first over and it was 12-1. Chris Benjamin joined Bethell and he hit a powerful 36 off 17 balls. He was supported by brief cameos from Adam Hose, Carlos Braithwaite, and Alex Davies. Braithwaite after struggling to get going, hit a six over long on from the last ball of the 7th over and retired out to bring Sam Hain to the crease. Hain didn’t face a ball.
The Bears took 18 off the last over to finish 98-5.
The Outlaws began their chase in copycat mode. Joe Clarke took a swipe at Olly Stone’s first ball back after his stress fracture and holed out to third man. Stone started well going for just six off his first over; then the fireworks began. First up was Duckett taking Craig Miles for two sixes before handing over to Hales who swotted him for a third in the over.
Hales, who had demolished 90 odd from 30 balls a couple of nights previous was in the mood. Danny Briggs’ third over went for 26 with a display of awesome hitting from Hales. He was 30 off 8 balls at this stage, and after three overs the Outlaws were in control at 55-1.
Jake Lintott came on and changed the game. His spell of 2 overs, 2 for 6, including the wickets of Duckett and Hales arrested the momentum. Dan Christian and Tom Moores never really got going, and when Christian slapped Carlos Braithwaite to the cover boundary fielder at the end of the seventh over, Nottinghamshire had 15 to win off the last over.
Good bowling from Miles who had found his yorker length was countered by a huge six over long on from Moores, which set up the mad finale.
The crowd only got to see 16 overs of cricket. They were entertained in all of them.
What a game we could have had with a bit more desire to get on the pitch earlier!