Somerset continue 100% Vitality Blast record
Somerset maintained a 100% record in this year’s Vitality Blast by beating Kent Spitfires by 13 runs at Canterbury, via the Duckworth-Lewis Method.
The contest was marred by three rain interruptions, but Somerset eventually restricted Kent to 112 in pursuit of a revised target of 126 from 15 overs. Ben Green was the standout performer for the visitors, taking three for 19.
Somerset were all out for 154 from 20 overs, Tom Lammonby their highest scorer with 34. Kent’s 11th hour signing Wes Agar took three for 18, while Michael Hogan claimed three for 33.
Both sides were missing key players, with Kane Richardson unavailable through injury and Craig Overton rested. The latter was replaced by Josh Davey while Kent announced, half an hour before the start, that Agar, part of their red-ball squad, had agreed to stay until July.
After Kent chose to field, Tom Banton hit the first two balls for four but he was out for 12 when he skied Hogan to Jack Leaning, who took a juggling catch.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore smashed Joe Denly for 20 in the third over, but with Agar poised to bowl an unexpected squall then sent everyone scurrying for shelter.
The players returned after a six-minute delay and Agar’s first ball as a spitfire splayed Will Smeed’s stumps, bowling him for a duck. After an 11-ball 23, Kohler-Cadmore hit Michael Hogan almost vertically and he was taken by Jordan Cox at mid-off.
Joey Evison then removed Tom Abell for 11 with a full toss that was hit to Daniel Bell-Drummond at cover.
When Tom Lammonby drove Grant Stewart for four in the ninth it ended a spell of 6.2 overs without a boundary but Stewart then removed Gregory for 13, the victim of a superb diving catch by Hogan.
The 15th over went for 17 but Lammonby then tried to scoop Stewart and only succeeded in chipping him to Billings, before Green was bowled by Agar for 22.
In his 300th Twenty20 match, Roelof van der Merwe gave Somerset something to bowl at. He hit 12 from the next three deliveries but was then caught on the boundary by Jack Leaning for 17. Leaning sprinted to deep mid-wicket to snare former Spitfire Matt Henry for a golden duck off Agar and Peter Siddle was run out off the last ball of the innings.
The target looked modest, but Somerset struck early in the chase. Tawanda Muyeye went for just five, miscuing Davey to Abell and Henry then ripped out Denly’s off stump.
Kent were on 37 for two when the rain returned in the sixth over and another half hour was lost. When play resumed, Siddle bowled Bell-Drummond for 13 and van der Merwe had Cox caught by Henry for eight.
Billings scooped Gregory for an elegant four but was bowled by the next ball, by which time a section of the crowd was singing: “We want Matt Henry back.”
A further delay left Kent needing 54 from 4.1 overs and after a fleeting revival Green bowled George Linde for 13 and had Stewart caught by Lammonby for four.
Van der Merwe held a tough chance to remove Leaning for 10 off Siddle and Agar fell to a brilliant boundary catch by Henry.
Kent needed 18 from Gregory’s final over, but the first five yielded just four and Joey Evison was caught by Lammonby off the last ball.
At the end of the game, Somerset Batting & Assistant Coach, Shane Burger said: “It was an excellent win. It’s always tough to come here and get wins, we know they’re a good team, so to come into their own back yard and get a win under the circumstances was very tough. Full credit to the boys for the character and the attitude they showed to get four wins out of four is a pretty good start to the competition.
“I knew we had to go out and bowl well and we knew we’d have to put in a good fielding display too and be ultra-disciplined. With the world-class bowling attack we have we back the guys to go out and defend any total, but we knew we were a little bit short so we’ll go away and reflect and see how we can come out better next time.
“I thought the group was outstanding. There was never a moan, there was always a mindset of trying to get out there and play cricket. I think many a team would try to get off the field rather than play so there was great composure from our lads to get back out there in those conditions. People were slipping over and the ball was wet but full credit to the guys, it just shows what you can do if you have the right mindset.”