Exit Smith on a Sabre-rattling note for Somerset

On the Twenty20 finals day cricket embraces popular culture, in the hope that popular culture will return the favour. There were 20,110 spectators here to give it a try, and most of them tolerated three rain delays to enjoy the appeal of the unexpected as underdogs Somerset easily beat the favourites Lancashire by seven wickets. Whether it becomes popular enough to infiltrate the culture remains to be seen.

There was an heroic quality about Somerset's victory. The Sabres maximised the talents of an ageing bowling attack, with Richard Johnson taking 3 for 26 and Andrew Caddick 2 for 21 as Lancashire's formidable top order imploded in the final. After scoring 217 for 4 in the semi-final against Surrey, they managed only 114 for 8 in the reduced 16-over innings in the final.

Fred Flintoff, the closest thing to a cricketing celebrity in our popular culture, was able to power Lancashire into the final with a bang, but he went out with a bit of a whimper. Against Surrey, he smote three sixes and four fours to get to 48 in 28 balls. He faced only three balls against Somerset before he skied Caddick to mid-wicket, out for three. Celebrity deflated by experience.

But how Flintoff tried. He bowled like a demon in the final: four overs, 33 runs, two wickets, but he could not dismiss Graeme Smith, who hit his last ball for six. The captain of Somerset and South Africa had also brought up his 50 with a six, and was 64 not out when the winning run was scored with 11 balls to spare.

His efforts were enough to earn him the man of the match award in his last game for Somerset, at least for this season. He got the support that he needed from Matthew Wood, who helped to break the resistance with four successive fours off Glen Chapple.

Like it or not - and a lot more people do than don't - Twenty20 cricket is a phenomenon. Higher average attendances in more games this summer have confirmed its popularity over every other form of the game, except Test cricket.

This cricket is far removed as it can be from the Victorian game organised over three days, by and for a leisured class. This is cricket for busy people and their children, plus Sky TV, whose commentators are encouraged to ignore the golden rule of cricket commentary about saying no more than necessary.

The only facet of this game that the Victorians might recognise is the role of the poor bowlers, whose principal task is to feed the appetite of the batsmen, for whom the game is organised. Lancashire scored 21 fours and seven sixes in a total of 217 for 4 in the semi-final. Surrey's 195 for 7 included 124 runs in boundaries and eight sixes. But generalisation is fraught with embarrassment. Somerset's bowlers were able to take advantage of failing light in the final to provoke overconfident shots.

Mal Loye was caught on the boundary off the sixth ball of the first over, having been dropped in the same spot off the second. Dominic Cork edged to second slip, Glen Chapple edged the ball on to pad and wicket.

Mark Chilton played inside Ian Blackwell's spin. Only Andrew Symonds, who was run out by a direct hit from Wesley Durston, and Stuart Law, who sacrificed his wicket off the last ball of the innings, could provide a satisfactory excuse.

The finals day is designed to resemble a fun fair. Noise is constant. During the interval between semi-finals, mascots from a dozen counties race across ridiculous obstacles. (For the record Carmen Bear of Warwickshire was an easy winner.) Later on, a girl group named Girls Aloud protected their voices against the inclement weather by miming their act, so it was said.

The crowd's interest survived the defeat of the home team by 22 runs. Leicestershire, who usually outperform themselves in this form of the game, seemed to have done enough when Somerset were out for 157 for 8. But only a six off the last ball by Paul Nixon made the game look as close as the four-run margin suggests.

The start of the final was delayed by 55 minutes, and did not finish until 10.15pm. The fact is that they had already seen a decent day's cricket after the semis. Finals day had its exhilarating moments, but it is surely too long. Why not spread it over a weekend?

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power