Somerset ease to victory at Lord’s


Riley Meredith’s first ever trip to Lord’s will be one that he remembers for a long time as he helped Somerset to a comprehensive victory over Middlesex in the Vitality Blast.

The Australian seamer took four for 12 from his four overs as his side eased their way to a nine-wicket win at the Home of Cricket to go to the top of the South Group table.

The result was set up perfectly by an outstanding bowling performance from the visiting attack and was finished off in style by Tom Banton.

The wicketkeeper/batter was at the crease from start to finish, making an unbeaten 49 as Somerset reached the meagre required total of 79 for the loss of just one wicket from just 12.3 overs.

Lewis Gregory won the toss and elected to field. Not in his wildest dreams could he have predicted what was to follow.

In addition to Meredith’s outstanding performance, Craig Overton (two for 21), Josh Davey (two for 13) and the competition’s leading wicket-taker Ben Green (two for 17) all impressed as Middlesex were dismissed for 78, their lowest ever score in the history of Vitality Blast cricket..

The hosts only got within two runs of their previous worst score – 80 against Kent at Lord’s three years ago – thanks to as defiant 10th-wicket stand of 28 between Tom Helm and Noah Cornwell, who both top scored with 15 apiece.

Banton and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (30 not out) then finished the job as Somerset sealed a third win of the campaign as Middlesex remain bottom of the table.

Martin Andersson crashed two fours through the covers in the opening over after Middlesex were put in, but once he skied Meredith to Overton at mid-on in the next, the rot set in.

Stephen Eskinazi fell to a cross-batted slog off Overton, before Meredith had Holden taken by Gregory at mid-on. Overton cranked up the pressure with a maiden to Ryan Higgins, during which the all-rounder failed to lay bat on ball, and in the aftermath Joe Cracknell, back in the side for the sick Leus Du Plooy, edged Meredith’s best ball of the match through to wicketkeeper Banton.

Davies had fallen to Overton by the time the opening bowlers took their leave with the Lord’s tenants in tatters at 34 for six. Josh Davey then joined the party against his former side when he accounted for Josh de Caires (3) at 41 for seven.

The competition’s leading wicket-taker Ben Green made an instant impression taking the wickets of Luke Hollman and Blake Cullen with his first two balls.

Cornwell saved the hat-trick before celebrating his call-up to the England U19s by clubbing Somerset skipper Lewis Gregory into the Grandstand but that was about the only cause for cheer for the beleaguered hosts.

Will Smeed fell for only one caught on the fence off Helm and had Davies clung on to an inside edge from Kohler-Cadmore in the next over then Middlesex might have made a fist of it, but the chance was grassed.

Middlesex’s misery was compounded when Cornwell was forced from the field mid-over with a hand injury caused trying to take a return catch off one smashed back at him.

Thereafter the Somerset duo settled down, both striking sixes into the Grandstand as Somerset romped home with 45 balls to spare.

After the win, Meredith, who claimed career best figures in the format this evening said: “We kept it really simple. There was a bit of bounce in the pitch and Craig and I just bashed our length and a bit of not great shot selection from them helped us out with a few wickets, so we got a lot of wickets early and they couldn’t come back. We were bowling well and taking wickets and so Lewis thought we should keep going.

“There was a bit in the pitch. It was definitely a bit spicy. I don’t think it was a 50 for nine wicket, but even in our innings there were a few that nipped with the slope and there was that bit of variable bounce, but if you played your shots there was enough there.”