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Patel, Gurney lead Notts to maiden T20 title

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Highlights - Patel, Gurney lead Notts to maiden T20 title (4:45)

Brendan Taylor and Samit Patel put on a Finals Day record 132-run stand that lifted Nottinghamshire away from trouble and towards a maiden T20 title (4:45)

Nottinghamshire 190 for 4 (Taylor 65, Patel 64*) beat Birmingham 168 for 8 (Hain 72, Gurney 4-17) by 22 runs

A record-breaking stand between Samit Patel and Brendan Taylor helped Nottinghamshire win the NatWest Blast T20 competition for the first time.

Coming together with their side reeling on 30 for 3, the pair added 132 in 81 balls - the highest partnership in the history of English Finals Days - to set the platform for an imposing final total of 190 for 4. Birmingham never really threatened in reply, leaving Notts - who had previously reached the knockout stages eight times but only once made it to the final - the winners by 22 runs.

It says much for Nottinghamshire's strength that, despite having to live without Luke Fletcher - who sustained a horrid head injury on this ground in the opening days of the tournament - and Michael Lumb, who was forced to retire mid-season, they were still strong enough to omit Stuart Broad from their side. Despite that, they used just 14 players throughout the competition and overcame the loss of their first two matches to emerge as worthy victors.

The result gave Nottinghamshire an outstanding opportunity to complete a treble this season. Having already won the Royal London Cup, they are also 32 points clear at the top of the table in Division Two of the County Championship. It might be considered an eloquent response by Peter Moores, in his first full season as head coach at the club, to his second sacking as England coach. They knew, at Sussex and Lancashire, that he was a fine coach. Now they know in Nottinghamshire, too.

Patel might also have felt he had a point to prove. He has seen his international career stall due to perceptions that his fitness is not all it might have been. But here he showed what a fine all-round - no pun intended - cricketer he remains. Following a semi-final performance which saw him dismiss the dangerous Shahid Afridi with the first ball of the Hampshire innings, he contributed an unbeaten 64 in the final.

But the moment that appeared to give him the most satisfaction came in the field. Picking up the ball at mid-off, he produced a direct hit to run out Ed Pollock, whose half-century had done so much to help his side win their semi-final, and reduce Birmingham to 16 for 2 in the third over.

It looked, initially, as if Chris Woakes might have settled this match in the opening moments. Woakes claimed three wickets in his opening couple of overs - including the in-form Alex Hales - to ensure Nottinghamshire were able to take little advantage from their Powerplay overs.

But all it did was bring Patel and Taylor together. Patel might, perhaps, have been caught and bowled by Grant Elliott on 13. But the bowler was, quite understandably, more concerned with self-preservation than the possibility of clinging on to what can only technically be considered a chance.

That moment apart, Patel batted with calm imperiousness. Knowing his side could ill afford the loss of more wickets during the early part of his innings, he initially contented himself with punishing anything short or wide. Elliott was pulled for six when he dropped short, while Aaron Thomason was guided through backward point and driven through the covers.

As he settled, though, Patel became more expansive. Woakes, having conceded just 12 from his first three overs, was punished for 17 from his final one as Patel carved him for six over cover, while Jeetan Patel and Dominic Sibley were heaved for sixes over midwicket. His half-century took 36 balls.

With Taylor, who took Thomason for three boundaries in his first over and clipped Sibley over mid-on for a six, providing fine support in a 42-ball half-century of his own, the pair were not parted until the start of the 19th over.

But that just allowed Dan Christian to thrash 20 from the final four balls of the innings. Feasting on a succession of length deliveries from Olly Stone - who, to that point, had bowled with impressive pace and control - Christan crunched two fours and two sixes as the last over cost 23. It meant Nottinghamshire had scored 132 from their last 11 overs and 69 from their last five.

Birmingham's resurgence - a resurgence that should encourage their supporters despite this result and the club's lowly Championship position - had been built largely upon the success of their youthful top order. But with Sibley defeated by a lovely slower ball out of the back of Harry Gurney's hand, Adam Hose apparently beaten for pace and Pollock punished for dawdling the first half of an attempted single, Birmingham were soon 36 for 3 and in need of a similar partnership as that provided by Taylor and Patel.

While Sam Hain, hitting the ball beautifully cleanly, contributed the highest individual score of the day - 72 from 44 balls - he lacked the support required to mount a realistic challenge. Thomason and Colin de Grandhomme threatened for a while but when Gurney - a far more accomplished bowler than when he represented England - produced two more slower balls to account for them, and then beat Hain with a low full toss, Birmingham were left needing an unlikely 29 off the last over.

And, as a record crowd of 24,432 cheered every one of a record number of runs on a Finals Day - the teams passed 1000 runs across the three games for the first time - on an excellent surface, the thought occurred once more: was a new competition, one without any of the traditional rivalries and that threatens to overshadow this excellent competition, really necessary?