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With Lancashire requiring four from the last ball, Nathan Ellis’ yorker cannoned into Richard Gleeson’s stumps but as fireworks filled the night sky, replays showed the Hampshire seamer had overstepped.
Gleeson missed the free hit that followed but he and Tom Hartley scampered through for a single and then appeared to complete a second run that would have been enough to level the scores and give victory to Lancashire as their powerplay score was superior, with the sides also tied in losing eight wickets.
But amid chaotic scenes Hampshire were hoovering up stumps and despite Vilas remonstrating with the umpires at the end, it was deemed a dead ball had been called before the second run was completed.
Law 20.2 states “whether the ball is finally settled or not is a matter for the umpire alone to decide”, and while Vilas ultimately accepted what happened, he felt the officials were a little hasty.
“We thought the ball was still live,” Vilas said. “There was a little bit of confusion out there but the umpires called the ball dead as soon as they took the stumps off at the striker’s end.
“Everything was going on out there at that stage and I can’t be 100 per cent sure of what was said, exactly, but we thought maybe we could have had a look and seen if there was a review or something.
“But obviously there wasn’t and it ended up going Hampshire’s way.”
Asked if the umpires could have conferred after a replay, Vilas added: “We look for everything else but ultimately it’s their decision and their decision is final, which we as players know and respect.”
Hampshire’s win by just a solitary run saw them collect a third crown as they equalled Leicestershire’s record for the most domestic T20 titles in England after successfully defending 152 for eight.
On the commotion at the end, Vince said: “They weren’t going to run two to the wicketkeeper so I’m not sure what (Vilas) is trying to say.”
Vince ultimately preferred to praise his side’s never-say-die spirit, having posted what seemed a below-par total, and even that owed to a counter-attacking 62 off 36 balls from Ben McDermott.
Matt Parkinson took four for 26 for Lancashire, who reached 72 for one in the eighth over before becoming constrained against spin twins Liam Dawson and Mason Crane as they lost wickets at regular intervals before Ellis ultimately got them over the line by the tightest of margins.
“The resilience and the belief within the group probably comes through winning,” added Vince, whose side claimed their first semi-final win in six attempts by beating Somerset earlier in the day.
“You’ve got to experience those situations a couple of times to build the belief and not just in T20 but in four-day cricket as well. We know we’re never out the game.
“It would have been easy, especially after the start they got off to, to sit back and let them cruise to victory but there’s no point in me saying it, the guys have got to act it and they did brilliantly.”
Hampshire’s bowlers dutifully stuck to their task as Lancashire’s challenge subsided but Vilas was satisfied with their efforts despite falling short.
“I’m hugely disappointed not to be lifting the trophy but I’m extremely proud of the guys,” Vilas added.
“It was a great day but very, very disappointing to not be on the winning end when we gave a good account of ourselves.”