Houston we have a problem. Alright not so much a problem, more of a sadness. A gaping black hole of loneliness. Stranded in space. Void of company for half a year, with only our thoughts spinning around the mind. Alone. Without a T20 Vitality Blast for banter.
All because this summer is zooming to a close, faster than Theresa May moving on the dancefloor. The T20 Vitality Blast shot off in wondrous style and is now preparing to land at Edgbaston in the next few weeks. With Finals Day and four county matches left, cricket is nearing its end. Doom and gloom. Sigh. But due to extreme professionalism the show must go on (for now). Let’s have a gander at how the T20 semi-finals shaped up.
Thunder & Lightning Very Very Frightening
‘Galileo, Galileo,’ would have trouble calculating the physics of Lancs spinner Matty Parkinson’s deliveries. Whizzing them down like a young Shane Warne, Parkinson was instrumental in Lighting striking down Kent Spitfires. Combining clever field placings, with superb wrist action, Kent had no answer to his 3-27. We all think we possess strong wrists but Matty has clearly spent many hours in his bedroom… writing long essays. Being 19 those blissful moments learning about seismic rifts and volcanic eruptions are still fresh in his memory.
Kent never recovered from being 22-3. Top scorer, skipper Sam Billings attempted in vain to unit his squadron, but they were blown apart, finishing with just 133.
Learning from his England team mates, Lightning opener Jos Buttler proceeded to then get a golden duck. Arron Lilley followed soon after. Kent sniffed an opportunity; 10-2. Imran Qayyum sprung into Parkinson’s footsteps and snaffled Alex Davies. It appeared Lancashire might struggle. Until that is, Keaton Jennings appeared.
Taking out his England frustrations with great aplomb, Keaton glued together the Red Rose chase. Unlike his international wilting, Jennings was determined. He drove with control. Cut like a youthful Cook, and above all faced more balls than at Trent Bridge.
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Welcome to Finals Day Lancashire fans!
Oh The Shark Bite, Has Such Teeth Dear
Baring those pearly whites like Mack with his glinting knife, Laurie Evans beamed as Sussex beat Durham by 5 wickets. The underachieving number 3, who has had a relatively quiet campaign, suddenly found his front crawl. Belting seven 4’s in his 63 not out, Evans ensured the Sharks were never in any danger.
Sensing blood after a poor batting display in which Ben Stokes top scored with 34, Evans and Delray Rawlins’ stand of 70 caused Sussex to nip their way to 145. Earlier tight bowling by Briggs and Beer restricted the Jets. Who were about as scary as their counterparts in ‘West Side Story.’
Despite being without Rashid Khan, Sussex were too strong for a limp Durham. ‘Something’s Coming’ to Finals Day. A side who ‘Feel Pretty’ ‘Cool’ about their chances. Get ready for ‘The Rumble’, as a strong Shark circles. It can bite off ‘One Hand, One Heart’ of the opposition. With ‘A Boy Like That’ Joffra Archer the ‘Finale’ is sure to be off the scale.
Please say somebody out there is a fan of the musical? Perhaps ‘Maria?’
Cause For The First Time In Forever
‘There’ll be music, there’ll be light’ in Worcestershire this week as the Pears rolled into their first ever T20 Vitality Blast Final! Dancing through the night, Calum Ferguson was elated in his 64 not out. In a hat trick of chasing teams winning, it was another exceptionally low total of 136 which Gloucestershire managed. As Brett D’Oliveria froze Gloucs, starring with 4-26. Talk about superb timing, these were Brett’s best figures of his career. Although there was a touch of fortune about two of the wickets, being awful hacks, he bowled with control and flight.
Despite beginning with a 65 run first wicket stand, once Miles Hammond fell, the wickets tumbled. Aside from the top 3, the other 7 batsmen managed just 29 runs between them. They froze with the pressure. As too did Moeen Ali, managing just 1. However with Ferguson, in untouchable form and unaffected by the melting sun, they were olaffing their way to Finals Day.
Ross Whiteley biffing successive sixes off Wayne Parnell helped. As the South African was bedraggled, Ferguson and Worcestershire stood tall. ‘Here they stand, in the light of day.’ Ready for Edgbaston. Now they need to let any doubts go.
The cold weather of September never bothered them anyway.
I Fought The Law, The Law Won
In ‘The Clash’ between law abiding Somerset and Nottinghamshire Outlaws, justice prevailed. Unlike in 2017 when the Outlaws were a quick snatching, arrow firing, merry men bunch of teammates, this season they’ve been poor. Star names such as Alex Hales and Samit Patel have been caught with paws in the treasure chest. Sentenced to jail time. Consequently it was a fluke they made it this far.
At Taunton they were flailed alive. A strong Somerset line up, whipped the ball to all corners of the ground. Gurney and Fletcher went for over 10 an over. Handcuffed by the siren wailing police trio of Hildreth, Abell and Gregory. James Hildreth struck a couple of maximums. Skipper Tom Abell hit one; whilst Lewis Gregory was promoted to Chief Commissioner, belting five. Gregory’s 60 not out off just 24 balls was outstanding. He lifted his side to 206.
The T20 Vitality Blast has provided magnificent chases. However the Outlaws never got close. Once Hales and Libby departed for 45 and 41 respectively, the jail filled up. Sheriff Jamie Overton has caught some blinding catches in 2018. This time he was catching criminals, snapping the cuffs on Wessel, Hales, Mullaney, Patel and Fletcher. Expensive but worth his weight in gold with 5-47.
Winning by 19 runs, Somerset face Sussex in their semi-final, with Lancashire against Worcestershire the other. Meanwhile Surrey Stars, shone brightly in the Women’s Kia Super League, comfortably thrashing Loughborough Lightning by 66 runs. South African Lizelle Lee’s glowing 104, pushed the shooting stars up to 183. The Lightning faded into the distance.
T20 Vitality Blast lands on Finals Day in three weeks’ time. We’ve been sitting in our tin can in space, now it’s time to come back to earth with a bang.
Can you hear me Major Tom?