Perfect record halted at Hampshire


Somerset’s perfect start to the 2023 Vitality Blast came to an end against Hampshire Hawks at the Ageas Bowl tonight, but the visitors came within a whisker of making it a sensational seven out of seven.

At the death, the result could still have gone either way, but Nathan Ellis produced two vital overs to help inflict a defeat on Somerset for the first time in this season’s competition.

Hampshire had got up to around par thanks to James Vince’s fifth 50-plus score of the tournament and Joe Weatherley’s unbeaten 59. Chasing 178 to win, Will Smeed cracked an exciting 52 and Tom Kohler-Cadmore kept Somerset on track with 43. However, Australian quick Ellis went for three and four in the 17th and 19th overs to return one for 26, with Scott Currie defending 18 in the final over as Hampshire won by five runs.

Hampshire had only failed to defend 178 at the Ageas Bowl once before in T20s but Tom Banton and Smeed piled on 69 runs in the powerplay with inventiveness, power and clean ball striking. However, Liam Dawson found a top edge out of Banton (31 from 21 balls) in the seventh over, only for his replacement Tom Kohler-Cadmore to blast Currie for three fours.

Smeed had returned a modest 70 runs in his first six innings of the summer but dominated with seven fours and a pair of sixes in a 30-ball fifty, but he fell two balls later when slogging Mason Crane to deep mid-wicket.

Sean Dickson lost his leg stump to John Turner, although Kohler-Cadmore heated up a lull with two huge sixes off Crane in the 16th over before falling to a well-aimed Turner bouncer with 26 needed off 15 balls.

Aneurin Donald pulled off a stunning catch to send away Tom Lammonby as Ellis’ 19th over only went for four to leave 19 required off the final Currie over.

Lewis Gregory was run out and despite still going for 13, Currie and the Hawks came out victors to end Somerset’s six-game winning run.

Having been invited to bat first, Ben McDermott pulled, cut and ramped a trio of boundaries but fell in the third over to Matt Henry.

Three fours from Vince brought up 54 for one in the powerplay, with two more sixes to follow in his 37 balls fifty although he failed to strike a boundary off his last 14 deliveries before holing out to long-on. Toby Albert had joined him in a 60 stand before falling to a swing to long on as Somerset took control of the middle overs thanks to Lewis Gregory, Ben Green and van der Merwe’s squeezing.

Weatherley escaped the press firstly by carving van der Merwe twice to the cover boundary before upping the ante with two swats for six to take him to a 31-ball half-century.

Ross Whiteley had run hard to help in a 73-run stand, although he only personally managed a scratchy 14 off 15 balls. Whiteley was brilliantly caught by Smeed on the boundary before Donald’s looping six over extra cover took the hosts to 178 for four.