Veteran Durham all-rounder Gareth Breese turned the Royal London One-Day Cup final into a perfect swan song as Durham clinched their second victory in a Lord’s final to deny Twenty20 champions Warwickshire a limited-overs double.
England’s Ben Stokes was there at the finish with an unbeaten 38 but Breese, who is expected to retire at the end of the season after not being offered a new contract, hit the winning boundary after earlier taking three wickets with his off-spin.
“In the end it could not have been scripted better,” the victorious captain, Mark Stoneman, said. “For Breesy to go out on a high by hitting the winning runs in a Lord’s final is a fairytale way to sign off.”
Durham, who beat Hampshire to win the Friends Provident Trophy in 2007 in their only previous final, came home with almost 10 overs to spare but it was anything but a stroll as the Warwickshire off-spinner Jeetan Patel exploited a turning pitch superbly and threatened to lead his side to an unlikely win after being bowled out for 165 in 47 overs.
Patel took four for 25, all four leg before wicket, and was more than once close to adding Stokes to the list before he ran out of overs and Durham were finally able to ease across the line.
In difficult conditions on a damp day which favoured the bowlers, Stokes was never likely to match the spectacle of his brilliant 164 in Durham’s semi-final defeat of Nottinghamshire but his innings was just as valuable. One-day skipper Stoneman scored a run-a-ball 52 as Durham’s pursuit of their modest target started at a rattling pace but only he and Stokes made more than Paul Collingwood’s 21.
Stoneman had not hesitated in bowling first on winning the toss. Durham were without Australian all-rounder John Hastings, who was with Chennai Super Kings for the Twenty20 Champions League, but Chris Rushworth and Paul Coughlin used the new ball with stifling control, restricting Warwickshire to only 27 runs in the opening 10 overs.
The killer blows came when Collingwood, enjoying such a renaissance late in his career that he has postponed his retirement, removed Jonathan Trott leg before for two with his third ball, and when 60 for two became 69 for five just 19 balls between the 20th and 23rd overs as Tim Ambrose was well caught by Breese at first slip before Stokes had Laurie Evans caught at second slip off the glove and knocked back Rikki Clarke’s middle stump.
Only Varun Chopra, the Warwickshire captain, hung around, facing 113 balls for his 64. Chris Woakes might have changed the complexion of the Warwickshire’s innings but after four boundaries, including two in one Stokes over, he fell to a superb catch by Calum MacLeod at mid-on for Breese’s first wicket. When Durham replied, Clarke removed Phil Mustard and MacLeod without scoring in his first two overs, but Woakes delivered a poor opening spell and Stoneman hit the England all-rounder out of the attack with seven boundaries in four overs.
At that stage Durham looked to be making short work of their task but when Patel came on they scored less freely and began to lose wickets. The New Zealand off-spinner dismissed Keaton Jennings with his fifth ball. Stoneman’s 10th boundary brought him a 43-ball half-century before he became Patel’s second victim to a loose shot. Scott Borthwick was next, beaten on an attempted sweep.
It seemed tailor-made for the experienced Collingwood but after surviving Patel he succumbed to Oliver Hannon-Dalby and when Patel claimed Gordon Muchall, Durham were seven down and, said Stoneman, “getting a bit tense”.
In Patel’s last over, Stokes frayed Durham nerves when an attempted reverse sweep skewed off the bottom edge, missed the stumps and went for four through the keeper’s legs, but the pressure began to evaporate. Breese hit three fours, the last to the third man boundary.
Chopra was gracious in defeat, saying: “It was a good toss to win but the bowlers still have to do their job and you have to give Durham credit for that.”Reuse content