The T20 Blast final finished in controversial circumstances, with Lancashire believing that an umpiring error cost them the title, arguing that they should have been awarded a second run off the final ball of the match.
In an incredible finale Hampshire won the T20 Blast for the first time since 2012 as they beat Lancashire by just one run to claim the title.
Lancashire had initially needed five runs off the final ball for victory when Nathan Ellis clean bowled Richard Gleeson to provoke mass celebration from the Hampshire players.
However, those celebrations were curtailed when it transpired that Ellis had overstepped and it was in fact a no-ball.
With two runs awarded for a no-ball in the Blast, Lancashire then needed three off the final ball to win, an equation that was in reality only two to win, given that in the event of a tie Lancashire would have been declared winners thanks to obtaining a higher score in the powerplay.
As Ellis bowled once more, he delivered a back-of-the-hand slower ball that enticed a play and miss from Gleeson and saw Lancashire scamper through for a bye. Wicketkeeper Ben McDermott ran in to the stumps at the strikers’ end and broke the wicket after Lancashire batter Tom Hartley had completed the run. With the stumps broken and the run completed, Hampshire players began celebrating once more, believing that the ball was dead.
However Gleeson, having completed one run, began to return to the strikers’ end in an attempt at running a two. As his partner Hartley realised what Gleeson was doing, he began running to the non-striker’s end where McDermott had himself run down to and been given a stump in celebration by Mason Crane. McDermott, however, had not broken the wicket himself and it can be argued whether this in fact constitutes the wicket being put down.
Law 188.8.131.52 states that a wicket can be put down “if a fielder strikes or pulls a stump out of the ground.” One bye was awarded, and with it, the title to Hampshire, but Lancashire captain Dane Vilas spoke after the game arguing that Lancashire had still considered the ball to be live and therefore should’ve been awarded two runs.
According to Law 20.1.2, “the ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler’s end umpire that the fielding side and both batters at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play.”
Lancashire had further reason to feel aggrieved as Hampshire appeared to have changed the field for the second of Ellis’s final balls of the match, a move that was seemingly confirmed by Ellis after the match and that shouldn’t have been allowed given it was a free hit with the same batter on strike.
Hampshire’s captain, James Vince, however has argued that the ball was “obviously” dead when McDermott had broken the wicket at the strikers’ end and cited a mistake that had been made in the first innings where Lancashire weren’t penalised for only having three fielders inside the thirty yard circle.
“I felt like a few things went against us,” he said to the press after the game. “When they had three [fielders] inside the ring and they didn’t look back at it and give us the no-ball, that was a couple of extra runs there and in finals, often, the ones we’ve played in come down to one or two runs. It felt like they had the rub of the green a little bit, so it was extra special to get over the line in the end.”