Essex have a Blast with thrilling final win over Worcestershire

Simon Harmer and Ravi Bopara starred as Essex were crowned Vitality Blast winners for the first time after toppling defending champions Worcestershire by four wickets in a final that was decided off the last ball.

Harmer was the standout bowler in a crowded field on Finals Day, taking three wickets for 16 runs in the showpiece as Worcestershire were restricted to 145 for nine after being invited to bat first at a sold out Edgbaston.

Bopara kept Essex’s hopes alive after they had lurched to 82 for five in the 14th over with a breezy 36 not out from 22 balls, before Harmer appropriately registered the winning boundary from the final delivery of the match.

With two needed from the final ball and the field in close, the Essex captain (18 not out) steered Wayne Parnell through point for four before setting off in celebration as his team-mates attempted to catch him.

Victory marks the start of what could be a memorable few days for the club, who only need to avoid defeat at Somerset next week to clinch the Specsavers County Championship pennant.

Worcestershire were seeking to become the first team to successfully defend the domestic English Twenty20 title and would have fancied their chances when Essex required 23 from the final two overs and 12 from the last six balls.

Parnell had been instrumental in Worcestershire’s nerve-shredding one-run over Nottinghamshire in the semi-final but he blinked first here as his penultimate delivery was hammered back over his head by Harmer, who then completed the job.

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