Sensational Somerset cruise past Hampshire
Somerset gained revenge for last year’s Vitality Blast semi-final defeat at the hands of Hampshire Hawks by sweeping the reigning champions aside in spectacular fashion at the Cooper Associates County Ground tonight.
It was an incredible display by the home side who triumphed easily by eight wickets with 10.3 overs remaining.
Somerset dominated from the start on a glorious evening in front of a near-sell out crowd after winning the toss, with player of the match Craig Overton claiming three for eight from four overs. He was more than ably supported by Ben Green (three for 11), Lewis Gregory (two for 13) and Matt Henry (two for 32).
The Blast title holders never recovered from 27 for five and were bowled out for 74, their lowest ever T20 total, in 16.1 overs. It was an impressive performance from Overton who added four catches to his heroics with the ball.
It was a ruthless display by the Somerset seamers, backed by some razor-sharp fielding. In reply, the hosts breezed to 74 for two off just 9.3 overs, Tom Banton smiting 40 off 24 balls.
Overton and Henry appeared to be trying to outshine each other when the Hawks innings began in front of the packed crowd, both maintaining excellent line and length. Sam McDermott fell to the last ball of Overton’s opening over, caught two-handed to his left by Tom Kohler-Cadmore at slip.
It was nine for two when Henry struck with his first delivery, bowling James Vince between bat and pad with a ball that nipped back. The New Zealand Test bowler then had Joe Weatherly caught at mid-on by Overton off a skyer to make it 12 for three in the fourth over.
By the end of the six-over powerplay, the Hawks were in disarray at 26 for three. Their plight worsened when Overton had Tom Priest caught behind attempting to pull a short ball.
Overton notched his third victim in the same over as Toby Albert was also snaffled by wicketkeeper Banton, going hard at a wide delivery.
Albert had scooped a six off Henry, but it was a rare moment of defiance from the Hawks as Overton produced 17 dot balls in bowling his allotted four overs straight through from the River End.
Rightly impressed by his opening attack, Somerset skipper Tom Abell did not make a change until the eighth over, which saw Peter Siddle replace Henry.
Ross Whiteley hit fours off successive balls from Gregory and Liam Dawson pulled a a six off Green as Hampshire briefly threatened a recovery. However, having helped take the score to 57, Dawson fell to another Overton catch, this time at fine leg off a scoop, and Scott Currie went in the same Gregory over, the 12th of the innings, bowled off a bottom edged pull shot.
Whiteley had reached his side’s top score of 18 when caught by Kohler-Cadmore, diving forward at long-off, having made decent contact with a Green full toss.
At 61 for eight, the Hawks were down and out. Chris Wood was pouched by the diving Overton at mid-off off Green, who completed the rout by having Nathan Ellis, who had taken 13 off Henry’s final over, caught at long-on by the same fielder.
Somerset’s big-hitting batting line-up were never likely to be troubled chasing such a paltry total and Banton soon signaled his intentions to end the match early by clearing the ropes with a ramp shot off Wood in the third over.
A scoop off Ellis brought the England T20 international another boundary, followed up next ball by a clip through the leg side for four. Will Smeed was caught at short third man for five in the same over, but by the end of their power play, Somerset were comfortable at 37 for one.
Banton launched another six over mid-wicket off Dawson before being stumped in the same over chasing a wide one. Kohler-Cadmore (18 not out) got off the mark by smashing the spinner over wide long-on for a maximum and by then the outcome had long been beyond doubt.
On a memorable night for both himself and the Club, Craig said: “It was up there as one of our best bowling and fielding displays since I became part of the team. I wouldn’t mind carrying that pitch around with me because it certainly did a bit for the bowlers early on.
“We are hopeful that this could be our year in the Blast. We have added an international bowler in Matt Henry and strengthened our batting as well, so perhaps we can go one better than reaching Finals Day.
“The crowd here are always our twelfth man and there is nothing better than winning in front of them on a sunny evening at Taunton.”