Hampshire held their nerve despite a brutal late assault by Yorkshire's David Miller to claim their second Friends Life t20 title in three years at Cardiff's SWALEC Stadium. The Royals followed up their 2010 success with a 10-run victory over a Tykes side who made a thrilling dash for the line courtesy of Miller's six-laden 72 not out.
The South African, who survived an apparent catch on seven, cleared the ropes five times and added five fours in his man-of-the-match 46-ball knock but it was the more measured approach of Hampshire that ultimately won the day. Jimmy Adams' 43 was the best they managed in a first-innings total of 150 for six but they secured the win when Chris Wood kept his cool in a nail biting last over.
With Yorkshire needing 14 and Miller rampant, the 22-year-old seamer conceded only three runs and finished up with wickets from the last two balls of the match to leave Yorkshire 140 for eight. He ended with three for 26, but there must also be significant praise for opening bowlers Dimitri Mascarenhas and Liam Dawson, whose four-over spells cost 20 and 21 respectively.
Yorkshire's pursuit began well, captain Andrew Gale leading the way as he and Phil Jaques picked up four boundaries in the first 15 deliveries of the innings. Hampshire had only managed that many by the 10-over mark but the fun was short-lived. First Mascarenhas bowled Gale for 15 and the Hampshire skipper struck again when he zeroed in on Joe Root's middle stump to make it 34 for two.
That brought the Tykes' semi-final hero Jonny Bairstow to the crease, fresh from his morning's work of 68 not out against Sussex, but he had barely arrived when Dawson spun one in to bowl Jaques for 11. With the floodlights now in full effect and Hampshire's fielders gradually forming a tight ring, Bairstow succumbed.
He had mustered just three when new bowler Danny Briggs found the edge and Michael Bates snared a sharp catch. At the halfway mark the innings had all-but stalled at 49 for four and the required rate had raced to 10 an over. Miller's reprieve came when TV umpire Nick Cook ruled against a catch claimed by Neil McKenzie at short-midwicket.
Replays and on-field reactions were inconclusive, but McKenzie seemed aggrieved when the decision came. Miller cashed in handsomely, flaying Sean Ervine for three sixes in four balls in the 12th over, each bigger than the last as he peppered the River Taff. Miller cleared the stands again off Briggs but Ervine made it 87 for five when Gary Ballance was well held by at third man.
A fifth six from Miller took him beyond 50 and England's Tim Bresnan (18) provided some enthusiastic support. A target of 58 from five overs became 36 from three and then 21 from two as Miller's assault continued but Wood stood firm to dismiss Richard Pyrah and Azeem Rafiq in the closing moments to cue emphatic celebrations.
Hampshire's innings was a steadily paced one, short of frenetic hitting but high on endeavour and hard running. Michael Carberry and Adams put on 22 for the first wicket, former England seamer Ryan Sidebottom breaking the stand by removing the former's off stump. Hampshire were 36 for one at the end of the six-over powerplay and although James Vince was not timing the ball Adams worked hard to locate the gaps, moving the score to 62 at the midpoint.
Adams added impetus by smearing Pyrah for six over wide long-on but was caught by Ballance looking for a repeat off the very next ball. McKenzie followed swiftly for four, the impressive Rafiq winning a deserved lbw decision. Pyrah let some of the pressure slip as he shipped 12 off his final over, new man Ervine hoisting his fourth ball for six.
Vince finally got going with two boundaries off Moin Ashraf but the seamer took swift revenge by bowling him for 36. Sidebottom used all his experience to halt any late charge, conceding just 11 off his last two overs and having the dangerous Ervine caught for 21. Simon Katich rallied late with 25 from 21 deliveries and an apparently middling total of 150 proved enough to bring the trophy back to the Rose Bowl.