Ashwell Prince added the Natwest Blast T20 trophy to his list of achievements with Lancashire this season, making a vital contribution to an opening stand which piled the pressure on Northants.
What makes it more impressive for Prince is that this 13-run win was Lancs’ first limited-over silverware since 1999. Since then, they have been defeated 15 times in the latter stages (quarter-finals, semi-finals or final) of limited-overs competitions. Five times previously they had reached T20 finals day and twice they had been thwarted in the final.
Prince, who swears he will retire at the end of the season, and Alex Davies put on 77 in nine overs, with Prince anchoring one end and marshalling his forces. Davies went for 47 off 26 balls, while Prince held firm for 43 off 45 with four fours, sharing a third-wicket stand of 55 with Jos Buttler. He was eventually fourth out, with a solid base of 125 having been laid for the late assault which brought 41 runs off the last five overs.
It was also an act of redemption for Prince, who fell for 0 in the semi-final earlier in the day.
The target of 168 was challenging, but it needed the likes of Richard Levi to come good; but he mistimed to mid-off, going for 16 off 12.
It was a disappointing match for Levi, who had led the way for Northants in the semi-final against defending champions Warwickshire with a match-winnings innings of 63 off 46 balls. He had little support down the line, but so dominating was his performance that it wasn’t really needed. He hit eight fours and a six as Northants chased down Warwickshire’s mediocre total of 131, with five wickets and 12 balls to spare.
At 95-5, Warwickshire may have seen a glimmer of opportunity, but Shahid Afridi joined Levi in a partnership of 40 for the sixth wicket to take his side to victory.
The squeeze on Warwicks total, after they had been put in to bat, came from Rory Kleinveldt, who conceded just 16 runs from his four overs, taking an early wicket which contributed to Warwicks being down 18-4 after four overs.
Sadly for the paceman, he was not able to replicate that in the final, going for 29 off three overs as Davies ran wild.
Compiled by Mark Salter