Somerset go clear at the top after Essex win


Somerset extended their lead at the top of the Vitality Blast South Group after a comprehensive victory over Essex Eagles at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford tonight.

It was a truly dominant performance which saw the table toppers come out on top by seven wickets in a result that moves the team from Taunton two points clear of nearest rivals Surrey and the Eagles.

Tom Banton (42), Will Smeed (36), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (28), Tom Abell (40 not out) and Sean Dickson (30 not out) struck 16 sixes between them in an almost perfect team batting performance.

For the hosts, Paul Walter made 51 and Robin Das a career-best 72 in a 94-run stand after the visiting bowlers had reduced their side to 15 for three. However, Somerset chased down 186 with relative ease and with 21 balls to spare.

Smeed and Banton took on the 187 target with the intent of finishing the match in a hurry, the pair smashing 64 in 5.2 overs.

Somerset were only on 11 after two overs before Smeed took Shane Snater for three successive legside sixes in a 23-run over, and then Paul Walter was taken for 15 with both batters helping themselves to maximums.

Smeed’s 16-ball 36 salvo ended when he toed to mid-on, but that breakthrough didn’t pause the onslaught as Tom Kohler-Cadmore peppered Hayes Close with three sixes and 21 off Matt Critchley.

Kohler-Cadmore cleared the press box but Simon Harmer had him caught next ball and Banton – who had reversed an outrageous six – was leg before to Sam Cook for 42.

Snater was brought back for a second over, only for Sean Dickson to dispatch him over the square leg boundary twice more – the Dutch international going for 42 in his two overs.

Sams returned two for 22 in a rare break from cannon fodder, and could have had three had Das held onto Dickson, but Abell and Dickson eased over the line soon after.

After being put in, Essex were three down inside three overs.

Jack Brooks, making his first Somerset Blast appearance of the season, accounted for Feroze Khushi and Dan Lawrence skying – boasting two for eight after his first two overs.

New Zealander Matt Henry took the first of his three wickets when Michael Pepper’s extravagant shot was touched behind. However, Das and Walter got the hosts out of their 15 for three hole with two differing ways to bat aggressively – the pair putting on 94.

Walter took the aerial route with five sixes and reached his 26-ball fifty by clubbing a full toss over cow corner. He chased Ben Green to Kohler-Cadmore at point next ball to fall for 51.

Das showed off his touch play with some beautiful timing in his 11 fours, although showed the occasional muscle with two sixes over long on. His second T20 fifty came in came in 31 balls before unleashing to end up 72 off 39 balls.

He then picked out Roelof van der Merwe at long on off Henry which began Essex’s second collapse, losing their last five wickets for 43 runs in 31 balls.

Van der Merwe bowled Daniel Sams, before very publicly dislocating and attempting to relocate his finger whilst Will Buttleman gave Henry three for 24. Simon Harmer was run out backing up, Shane Snater fell in similar fashion chasing a second and Matt Critchley was caught at short third off Green after an enterprising 30.

The victory sees Somerset topping the table with 16 points from 10 matches.