We don’t think you will see a better over in T20 cricket than the one Jordan Thompson bowled at the Oval last night as Yorkshire qualified for Vitality Blast Finals Day.
Surrey, chasing 161, needed just five to win at 156-5 with two big-hitting batters set in the thirties – Jamie Overton and Laurie Evans.
But Thompson conceded just two runs off the bat – plus a leg-bye – forced a run out and took a wicket to send the travelling contingent of Yorkshire fans delirious after seeing their side victorious by one run.
Here, we relive that final over with the help of the man himself. Jordan Thompson, you absolute superstar.
BALL ONE: Surrey need five to win, at 156-5. Game over? Usually it would be. But Thompson believed otherwise.
He bowls a quick and accurate bouncer to Jamie Overton, who aims a pull and misses. The ball thuds into the gloves of wicketkeeper Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
With DRS in play for the knockout stages of the Blast – one per team – Yorkshire opt to take theirs on the off chance of a caught behind. No one appealed, but it seemed like a tactic to slow the game down and build the pressure on the batter.
Jordan Thompson: “I was stood at the top of my mark with Dave (Willey), and we had a bit of a discussion.
“It was trying to out-think the batter. That’s why I went bouncer.
“I brought mid-off up and thought, ‘Let’s try and get into the over with a dot here to see if we can do something’.”
BALL TWO: Surrey still need five to win. Thompson goes yorker to Overton, who gives himself room and ends up pushing an easy single off a low full toss out to deep cover.
JT: “Next ball, it’s a bit of a blur to be honest. I went yorker and then yorker again the next one as well.”
BALL THREE: Thompson’s right, he went yorker again with Surrey now needing four. Laurie Evans squeezes it out to wide long-on, where Jonny Tattersall hared in to prevent the two.
BALL FOUR: Surrey need three from three and are still favourites. Overton on strike and Thompson bowls a back of the hand slower ball which the batter, having given himself room to leg, can’t reach.
This is where the madness really begins.
The ball hits Kohler-Cadmore on the pads and bobbles away from the keeper. Overton sets off to pinch a single but tries to get back having thought better of it.
By this time, TKC has whipped a glove off, gathered the ball and thrown down the stumps at the striker’s end. Overton (40 off 21 balls) is short of his ground. 158-6.
Yorkshire’s players believe and fans start to think about logging onto booking.com (other reputable hotel comparison sites are available!) to see what Friday and Saturday night in Birmingham will cost.
JT: “I didn’t want to become predictable, so that’s why I went slower ball to Jamie.”
BALL FIVE: Surrey now need three from two balls. A tie comes into view. Yorkshire would win on the first separator, fewer wickets lost, having finished their innings on 160-5.
Left-hander Sunil Narine is on strike, the West Indian spinner who gives it a whack with the bat.
Thompson goes full and Narine connects. Hearts in mouths. It arrows down to deep backward square, flat but at catchable height.
Will Fraine, who had earlier hit a brilliant 32 not out off 14 balls to boost Yorkshire’s total, ran around, dived and held on. Under pressure, it was a fabulous catch.
158-7. Yorkshire supporters believe as well. They couldn’t, could they!
Having thought about spending a Saturday gardening, Finals Day was back on the agenda.
JT: “I went yorker again.
“Frainey was absolutely awesome for us. He’s not played the last couple of games with Covid – he’ll have been frustrated – but he came in and did what he did with the bat. Then, in the field, that catch of Narine was sensational.”
BALL SIX: The game had turned, for the umpteenth time.
Surrey now needed three off one ball. Repeat, a tie and Yorkshire won on fewer wickets lost. The hosts needed all three runs with tail-ender Gus Atkinson on strike and set batter Evans stranded at the non-striker’s end on 35 not out.
Thompson bowled a ball outside off-stump, Atkinson swung and missed but set off, forlornly, to run a bye.
The bowler also set off – on a lap of celebration, as his team-mates hugged, Yorkshire’s supporters in the ground cheered and punched the air and those watching at home could choose a hotel.
Surrey finished on 159-7, and Yorkshire had booked a place at Finals Day on July 16.
JT: “I also went yorker last ball. That one was probably the most in the slot ball of the lot of them, and it should have gone for six. But when it’s your night, it’s your night.
“You’ll know, the lads in the dressing room know, I haven’t been great by my standards for the last few games with the ball.
“To stand up in a big moment like that is great.”
In his post-match captain’s interview with Sky Sports, David Willey revealed that Thompson calls himself ‘The Big Show’, a nod to a former WWE wrestler of the same name.
But, as with every good ‘Big Show’, you need a supporting cast. And, boy, did Tommo have one.
“We were 11-3 at Northants, ended up getting 190 and defended it easily,” he said. “We were 9-2 and Finn and Lythy didn’t get us off to the start they have been doing.
“But Tom and Dave ran it really well. People might have been getting frustrated with them knocking it around. But that’s what it needed. They needed to take it deep and get as many as we could.
“I mentioned Frainey, and Rev as well. In T20 cricket, people are going to go around the park. And he did until his last over.
“He came back, stood up and got us into that penultimate over. And we got over the line. Absolutely fantastic.”
Other mentions should go to Shadab Khan, who performed with bat and ball, while fellow spinner Dom Bess bowled impressively as well.
It all means that a Roses semi-final is one step closer. Lancashire face Essex at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow night in their quarter-final.
Come on, Lightning, don’t let us down. We’re waiting. Let’s show the world once again that the Roses game is the best T20 fixture on earth.
“That would be awesome to have a Roses semi-final, and to get one over them would be great,” added Thompson.
“Whoever it is, we have to put in a great performance again. We’ll have England boys missing, which will be tough for us. But lads will stand up, I’m sure.
“It’s going to be some of the lads’ first Finals Day. A little bit of naivety might not be a bad thing next week.”