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On this day: Surrey Lions win first Twenty20 Cup

Twelve years ago today, Surrey Lions eased to a nine-wicket win over the Warwickshire Bears in the first ever Twenty20 Cup final.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of cricket in England had hit an all-time low. Test and one-day matches were viewed by much of the general public as being too mundane, which had resulted in attendances dropping at an alarming rate.

Much research was done into what the ECB could do to get supporters flocking back into county grounds up and down the country and so, in 2003, the first Twenty20 Cup competition was played.

Adam Hollioake, the Surrey captain, and the rest of the team celebrate with the trophy after the Surrey v Warwickshire Final of the Twenty20 competition at Trent Bridge on July 19, 2003© Getty Images

It was believed that shorter games - teams had just 20 overs each - that were played on weekday evenings would be a winning formula and in fairness to the powers that be, they have been proven correct.

The final of the inaugural tournament was played at Trent Bridge 12 years ago today between the Surrey Lions and the Warwickshire Bears, who had defeated the Gloucestershire Gladiators and Leicestershire Foxes respectively in the semi-finals.

The initial advantage went the way of underdogs Warwickshire after captain Nick Knight had won the toss, but his decision to bat first almost immediately backfired.

With Surrey's Jimmy Ormond in fine fettle, just three Warwickshire batsmen made double figures as they were bowled out inside 19 overs for 155 runs. As for the right-arm bowler, he finished with 4-11 off four overs.

In reply, Surrey made light work of their victory target as Ian Ward and Ali Brown put on a 100-run opening partnership from just 57 deliveries.

Unfortunately for Ward he would not be there when the winning runs were struck, having been caught by Waqar Younis off the bowling of Graham Wagg. Instead, it was Mark Ramprakash that was alongside Ali when the nine-wicket victory was sealed with 55 balls to spare.

It was a win that added to Surrey's already bulging trophy cabinet, with The Oval-based county having won three of the previous four County Championships, as well as the B&H Cup in 2001.

Speaking about his decision to bat first, defeated skipper Knight said: "It has been a great journey for us but this was a game too far. Maybe we didn't appreciate the conditions at the start but I thought Jimmy's spell was awesome. He had the conditions there and he exploited them."

Meanwhile, Ormond himself added: "It swung around early doors for us and it made bowling a lot easier.

"I thought both performances were good all-round team performances - this one especially - but the semi-final was pleasing because everyone chipped in and played a part."

The success remains Surrey's only triumph in the shortest format of the game, while they have been beaten finalists in both 2004 and 2013.

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Lancashire bowler Steven Croft celebrates after dismissing Brendon McCullum during the NatWest T20 blast match between Birmingham Bears and Lancashire Lightning at Edgbaston on July 17, 2015
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