Northamptonshire all-rounder David Willey revealed that a heated on-field exchange with Jade Dernbach inspired his match-winning heroics in Saturday’s Friends Life t20 final against Surrey at Edgbaston.
Willey produced one of the most complete Twenty20 performances in the decade-long history of the competition as he followed the fastest half-century in this year’s tournament with figures of four for nine – including a hat-trick – to seal the Steelbacks’ first major title in 21 years. A direct-hit run-out from long on and a catch on the ropes completed a “once in a lifetime” night which the 23-year-old claimed was mostly engineered by his clash with Dernbach.
Asked what was the key to his performance, Willey said: “Him. I’m a bit of a strange one. Sometimes I don’t enjoy it [a verbal battle] too much and I just like to be quiet and not get involved. Other times it gets me going and today it got me fired up nicely. The adrenaline got going after a few words were exchanged with him and it went from there.”
Willey was only promoted to open the batting after Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer injured his wrist in the semi-final win over Essex but blasted 60 from 27 balls while reserving his hardest hitting for Dernbach – whose figures of 55 for none were the second most expensive on a finals day.
Dernbach was at the non-striker’s end when Willey sealed victory with the first hat-trick of his career. After Zafar Ansari and Jon Lewis picked out the field, last-man Chris Tremlett edged behind to diving wicketkeeper David Murphy as Surrey fell 102 runs short of the Steelbacks’ 194 for two. Surrey had failed to get out of the south group the previous six seasons before beating Somerset and Hampshire en route to the final.