Bates keeps cool during panic stations

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Wicketkeeping hero Michael Bates revealed the feeling that steered Hampshire to their memorable last-ball CB40 victory: Sheer panic.

The talented 21-year-old made sure there were no handling errors from that fateful last Kabir Ali delivery as the Royals grabbed their latest piece of silverware.

But in a frantic finale, Bates was happy to admit his true feelings as Ali raced in to bowl.

He said: ‘It was probably panic!’

‘I caught it and then I wasn’t really sure what was happening.

‘I took the bails off, then he started running so I picked up all the stumps just to make sure.

‘It was all kicking off.

‘You just try to block out the distractions, even though there are a million thoughts going through your mind.

‘I went back to doing what I’ve been told since I was a kid – watch the ball.

‘How Kabby (Ali) held it together and nailed his yorkers at the end was unbelievable.

‘You can have everyone telling you what to do – but the execution was key.

‘That’s the hardest bit.

‘It was so hectic.

‘People were running around everywhere and it’s hard to focus.

‘But we just had to concentrate on what we had to do and we did it.

‘And it’s so special to win at Lord’s – the home of cricket.

‘It was so tense.

‘The t20 final was frantic but it felt like the game was on a knife edge the whole day and we all knew it could have gone either way.

‘We knew Ian Bell was the dangerman.

‘He almost took it away from us.

‘But we got him out just at the right time.

‘To come out on top is awesome.’

In the ensuing pandemonium, Bates knew victory was assured but thought Neil Carter should have been dismissed, even though the official scorecard suggested he was not out.

Bates laughed: ‘It was an hour after the game finished and I still didn’t know if there was a wicket off the final ball!’