Thomas holds his nerve to seal Sabres victory
The Somerset Sabres gained revenge for their Finals day defeat last year by sealing a thrilling eliminator victory over the Hampshire Royals in another rain affected match at Edgbaston.
Faced with a total of 16 to defend, Alfonso Thomas bowled superbly, picking up the wicket of Shahid Afrid and conceding just five runs from his six deliveries to help the Sabres secure their third straight Final appearance.
Having lost the previous two Finals the Sabres will be hoping to go once better when they take on the Leicestershire Foxes later tonight having secured their place in next months t20 Champions League.
It proved to be a disappointing day for the defending champions who fought their way back into the game thanks to Dominic Cork who conceded just four runs from the last over of the match to set up another one over eliminator.
Faced with a run chase of 95 from 10 overs the Sabres looked on course for victory thanks to an opening stand of 40 between Marcus Trescothick (28) and Craig Kieswetter (14).
The Royals thought their way back into the game thanks to Imran Tahir (2-20) who picked up the quick wickets of Trescothick (28) and Kieron Pollard (8) before Jos Buttler smashed a quick fire 32 to set up a dramatic finish.
The 22 year celebrated his England ODI call up by smashing a boundary and three sixes to leave the Sabres needing just five runs from the final over before he was dismissed by Cork.
It proved to be another thrilling ended after Afridi had looked to put the Royals in charge after he smashed six boundaries and five sixes during a devastating 42 ball innings to help the Royals record a total of 138-4 in a rain affected innings which was reduced to just 16 overs after heavy rain forced the players off on two occasions.
James Vince (22) and Sean Ervine (14) enjoyed vital cameo but it proved to be in vain as the Royals failed in their attempts to become the first team to successfully defend their t20 title.