It was Hampshire and not Warwickshire who won the county double in 2012 thanks to their thrilling last-ball win in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord's.
Needing just seven to win from the final over, Warwickshire were favourites, even more so when Neil Carter - in his last match - hit the penultimate ball for four to bring the scores level. However, Kabir Ali delivered a low full-toss just outside off-stump which Carter missed and Michael Bates, who had kept superbly all day, whipped off the bails and yanked a stump out of the ground for good measure. Hampshire, who had lost just five wickets during their innings, were the winners by virtue of having taken seven Warwickshire wickets.
Ian Bell had made the Bears favourites with a run-a-ball 81, but they were never far ahead of Hampshire and his wicket to David Griffiths in the 37th over looked to have tipped the match in Hampshire's favour. Chris Woakes came in and played fluently in making 24 off 16 balls, but he was deprived of the strike in the final over as Kabir Ali, by and large, located the block-hole.
Darren Maddy and Varun Chopra had sent Warwickshire off strongly in pursuit of the 245 that they needed for victory, adding 53 for the first-wicket, but Chris Wood, bowling just back of a length and angling the ball in from round the wicket, took three mid-innings wickets as he continued to show just how comfortable he is in a pressure situation.
Hampshire's innings had begun brightly with Michael Carberry hitting a fluent 35 off 31 balls. The introduction of spin looked, for a while, like it may prove to be Hampshire's undoing, but Jimmy Adams and Sean Ervine both hit calm half-centuries to help the recovery after Neil McKenzie had struggled to 19 prior to dragging on off Ian Blackwell. Simon Katich added a combative unbeaten 35 off only 26 balls as Hampshire, in spite of some tidy bowling from the Bears spin pairing of Ian Blackwell (one for 42) and Jeetan Patel (none for 32), posted what would prove to be a match-winning total of 244 for five.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Gloucestershire's former Hampshire and Surrey wicket-keeper Jonathan Batty has announced his retirement from professional cricket at the age of 38.
The draw for next season's Clydesdale Bank 40 has been made today. The 18 first-class counties are again joined by the Unicorns, Scotland and the Netherlands and have been randomly drawn into three groups of seven as follows:
Group A: Kent, Netherlands, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Warwickshire, Worcestershire.
Group B: Derbyshire, Durham, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Scotland, Surrey.
Group C: Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Somerset, Unicorns, Yorkshire.
The final will take place at Lord's on 21st September with full fixtures for the county season expected to be released in mid-November.
© Cricket World 2012
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