Willey, pictured above celebrating the wicket of Surrey’s Jason Roy, produced one of the most complete Twenty20 performances in the decade-long history of the event as he followed the fastest half-century in this year’s tournament with figures of 4-9 – including a hat-trick – for 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 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 it got me fired up nicely here.
“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 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 0-55 were the second most expensive on a finals day.
“I quite enjoyed clearing my front leg and whacking him to be honest,” he said.
“I don’t think he enjoyed it so much as he seemed to think I was a slogging something-or-other, which is probably pretty accurate.
“But it was in the heat of the moment. Me and Jade get on really well – it was a bit of banter in the middle and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Northamptonshire – who had had won just three of their previous 22 T20 matches before this season –reached the final after a seven-wicket win over Essex.
Surrey got through after a four-wicket win against defending champions Hampshire.