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Final pain for skipper Lewis

Jon Lewis tasted the sweet highs and bitter lows of limited-overs cricket on Saturday as Gloucestershire fell at the final hurdle on Twenty20 finals day.

Having put favourites Lancashire to the sword in the semi-finals in front of a packed Edgbaston crowd, the Gladiators almost caused another upset in a thrilling final against Kent.

Chasing a modest 147 to win, the Spitfires were cruising at 109-3 before Lewis removed the hard-hitting Matt Walker and Ryan McLaren to give his side a fighting chance.

The Spitfires held their nerve though, taking 13 off the final over from Carl Greenidge to scrape home by four wickets.

"It was a strange day," said Lewis, who did his hopes of selection for the Twenty20 World Cup no harm with three wickets in two matches.

"Your emotions go up and down all day. We had the highs of beating Lancashire in the first game and then the lows of losing to Kent in the final.

"I was satisfied with the way the guys played though. To reach the final was an excellent effort.

"Credit must go to Kent. They executed their game better than we did and that's why they took home the trophy."

Lewis believes a hat-trick from South African McLaren was the turning point of the final as the Gladiators failed to set a match-winning target.

The Swindon seamer made a useful 17 with the bat, but admits 146 was always going to be difficult to defend.

He said: "It was a very close game, a good game of cricket, but I thought we were maybe a little bit short by 10 or 15 runs.

"It's very tricky in Twenty20 if you keep losing wickets throughout the innings. It's quite hard to keep the momentum going.

"Any hat-trick is a game-changer but we still had our chances to win. Unfortunately we didn't take them and Kent kept their composure."

Lewis defended his decision to give Greenidge the ball for the final over, after the seamer had leaked 34 runs in his first three overs.

"I was originally going to bowl the last one myself, but I felt we needed to take the wicket of Walker, which is why I brought myself back earlier.

"It was a gut feeling but it worked because I managed to get McLaren out too, which gave us a chance.

"I backed Carl to bowl the last one and I would back him to do it again.

"Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan and Kent managed to get over the line.

"I never once thought we had it in the bag because it's easy to hit 12 or 13 runs in an over of Twenty20.

"It was disappointing to get all the way to the final and lose, but I was still proud of the team's efforts."

Lewis can take satisfaction from his own display in Birmingham, taking three wickets for just 44 runs in seven tidy overs.

He hopes his performance will see him chosen in England's one-day squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, which is due to be announced later today.

He said: "My statistics hold up against any bowler in the country at Twenty20, and in 40-over cricket, so hopefully I've done enough.

"If the selectors pick the team on statistics alone then I've got to be in with a chance.

"I feel I can keep my head under pressure, which is what's needed in Twenty20. We'll just have to wait and see now."

After failing to add to Gloucestershire's amazing run of one-day success in recent years, Lewis set his sights on making the Gladiators competitive in all forms of the game.

"We all like winning," he said. "I like to win as much as anyone but I don't care what we've done in the past, it's about how we play in the future and how we play today, now.

"There are expectations from the fans because we've done well in the past and we're a good one-day side but I'd also love to be a fantastic four-day team and pick up some more trophies."

source - swindonadvertiser.co.uk
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