There's nothing like a few games of cricket to get you pondering the big questions. Is the universe benign, for example? Or is it hostile? Or is it simply implacable? Of course, in the wider context of events on this mad, bad planet, such queries are irrelevant, but even so, in a little green corner of Hampshire yesterday, for those of us lucky enough to be absorbed by our pointless and beautiful sport, they were worth asking.
The answers for those contesting T20 finals day were many and varied. For Nottinghamshire, the best side there, robbed by rain that seemed to have been turned on by some kind of malicious timer switch, it was undoubtedly hostile. For Hampshire, the winners who tried, at the death, their very best to throw it all away, it was a fateful repayment on the loving - if ambitious - investment in the county by Rod Bransgrove. And for Kieron Pollard, the ur-T20 symbol of the age, holder of a reversal-of-fortune catch one moment and recipient of a dramatic, game-ending injury the next, it was a universe unswayed by triumph or disaster.
The demise of Notts was almost comical. The rain that ended their semi-final began to fall heavily at the precise moment they fell behind the Duckworth-Lewis rate, and persisted only to the minute at which it was appointed that the game be abandoned. As noted before, Duckworth-Lewis does not work well for T20. Over the shortened distance there's not yet enough data to reflect what the usual outcome of a game would be. In this case, the batting side would have won seven or eight times out of ten.
Having sneaked through, Somerset lacked the bowling power to halt Hampshire's charge, only for the ghost of a ludicrous collapse against the same opposition earlier this year to haunt Dominic Cork's unlikely lags. Folding like a pack of cards, with a runner on for the last ball, a manic leg bye was enough. By that time, Kieron Pollard was in an ambulance, brained by an apologetic Corky. Fate was running wild.
The case for Matt Renshaw
1 week ago