Ealham assault fires stunning victory for Nottinghamshire

Yorkshire 208 for 7 Nottinghamshire 210 for 7 Notts win by 3 wkts
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The Independent Online

Having excelled in every other form of cricket in his 16-year career, the former England all-rounder Mark Ealham added the Twenty20 Cup to his personal catalogue of achievement with a stupendous display of hitting here last night as Nottinghamshire pulled off a stunning victory.

Having excelled in every other form of cricket in his 16-year career, the former England all-rounder Mark Ealham added the Twenty20 Cup to his personal catalogue of achievement with a stupendous display of hitting here last night as Nottinghamshire pulled off a stunning victory.

Yorkshire posted a total only two sides have bettered since the short format game was launched last summer, but it was not enough to deny the home side, whose 210 for 7 from 19.5 overs is the highest winning score so far for a side batting second.

Samit Patel, at 19 the youngest member of the Nottinghamshire team, joyfully hit the winning runs, driving four through the covers from the last but one ball. He and his eighth-wicket partner Richard Logan had needed to score 10 off the last over, in which England's current one-day specialist all-rounder, Anthony McGrath, signally failed to live up to his reputation.

But it was 35-year-old Ealham, a veteran of 64 one-day internationals and eight Tests, who had made it possible, scoring 91 off a mere 35 balls in an innings containing five fours and a breathtaking nine sixes.

McGrath suffered the most punishment, conceding five of those towering blows - three of them hurled over the leg-side boundary from consecutive deliveries - as Nottinghamshire turned what had looked like a certain defeat into a memorable victory, blasting 143 off their last 10 overs.

When Nottinghamshire slumped to 56 for 4 in the ninth over of their reply, a win for the visiting side seemed assured.Matthew Wood's unbeaten 62-ball 96 looked unsurpassable as the innings of the evening. But the tide began to turn when Ealham and Chris Read put on 87 in six overs. Ealham found his range almost immediately, twice carting Chris Silverwood over the leg-side boundary before getting to work on McGrath, the third of his five sixes against the England player taking him past 50 from just 23 balls.

Read was caught at extra cover in the same McGrath over, but Gareth Clough, the former Yorkshire player, maintained Nottinghamshire's momentum. Ealham, who was dropped by Andrew Gale at deep square leg when on 22, fell ultimately to a catch on the boundary in the penultimate over, at which point 21 runs were still needed.

A couple of streaky edges off Logan's bat advanced Nottinghamshire's cause, much to the frustration of the England spinner Richard Dawson, but as McGrath was found wanting, Logan and Patel kept their heads to ensure Ealham's magnificent effort did not go to waste.

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