Sun. Oct 24th, 2021

Finals Day is one of the few constants in the domestic game with the sport becoming bewildering and exhausting to follow

The woman in the bird costume can scarcely believe what she’s seeing. The man dressed as a bottle of mustard is mesmerised by the flight of the white ball against the dark night sky. The pair of jockeys leaping in anticipation of a Somerset six now clutch their heads as Jordan Cox of Kent hurls himself skywards, flips the ball back over the boundary rope and into play again. By the time Cox has finally hit the turf, Matt Milnes has grasped the catch off the bowling of Darren Stevens, and Kent are on the way to becoming men’s Twenty20 champions of England for the first time since 2007.

And for all the individual brilliance on display, Kent’s triumph felt very much like a team effort, a fitting reward for a likable bunch of cricketers: the evergreen Joe Denly, the brilliant Qais Ahmad, the grinning Sam Billings, the veteran all-rounder Stevens, a man who looks like he’s just thrown a shoe over a pub and can’t wait to do it again. Above all it felt like a moment of catharsis for Kent’s longsuffering fans, who through global plague and trophy drought have impressively, irrepressibly endured.

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