OXFORDSHIRE’S hopes of retaining their National Counties T20 crown are over, despite a superb all-round display from England international Samit Patel.

Berkshire overcame Oxon with a thrilling three-wickets win in the opening match of their double-header at Thame, to become the first county to book a place in this season’s National Counties T20 finals day.

Patel pummelled a century from 56 balls and then bowled a nerveless final over that, to almost snatch victory with two wickets going down in successive balls.

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Berkshire required three from the last two balls of the match. Toby Greatwood scrambled a leg bye before Rhodri Lewis struck the final delivery for four to secure Berkshire’s passage to finals day.

Patel shared half-century partnerships with Oxon captain Jonny Cater, then Marcus Campopiano for the fourth and fifth wickets and a target of 187 stretched Berkshire.

Dan Lincoln led the chase with 51 from 34 balls and Andy Rishton sustained it with 57 from just 29 balls.

Berkshire began the last over needing three for victory but Charlie Dunnett was unable to score off the first ball, was run out off the second and Patel snared Rishton with the third, before bowling another dot ball to Greatwood.

Oxon won the second match by 41 runs, as Jamie Harrison’s 76 led them to 174 for eight, while three wickets from George Tait helped to throttle the visitors.