Himley clinch T20 title after thrilling bowl-out

First published in Sport

HIMLEY clinched the Black Country Floodlit Twenty20 tournament with a dramatic sudden death bowl-out win over Stourbridge.

Heavy rain washed out the final and saw the week-long tournament decided by cricket’s version of the penalty shoot-out.

Mikesh and Jitesh Patel put Stour into a 2-0 lead and it looked like being enough for victory.

But Stuart Wedge and Rajat Bhatia levelled for the hosts, before Ryan Brown held his nerve to seal the win.

After a scintillating week of cricket played in fine weather, this looked like being a frustrating and unsatisfactory end to proceedings.

The covers had briefly been taken off at around 7.15pm, 45 minutes after the scheduled start time, only for the heavens to open once more making a bowl-out the only option.

But there was still plenty of tension around as each side put forward five bowlers and this only mounted as time after time the stumps were missed, with the crowd watching in close proximity.

Stour’s Audy Alexander and Tom Henderson both failed to hit with either of their deliveries, as did Dan Smith and Nathan Round for Himley.

Mikesh Patel was the first man to strike with his second ball and when brother Jitesh repeated the trick with his first, Stour’s players were ready to celebrate.

Himley skipper Wedge put his side back in it but his side still trailed 2-1 when IPL star Bhatia, their final bowler, stepped up to the plate.

He sent his first delivery wide but his second clattered the stumps to send the bowl-out to sudden death.

By now the rain was torrential and several players were clearly struggling with their grip. Alexander came within inches of winning it but the stumps were missed nine times during sudden death, before Brown hit to send the home side delirious.

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