Patel spins Warwickshire past Somerset and into RLODC final

Patel spins Warwickshire past Somerset and into RLODC final

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Warwickshire 284-4 (Hain 86, Bell 94 not out; van der Merwe 2-62) beat Somerset 276-9 (Trego 58, Davies 46; Patel 5-43, Hannon-Dalby 2-41) by eight runs

In an excellent game of cricket, Warwickshire booked their place at Lord’s for the Royal London One-Day Cup Final against Surrey with a narrow eight-run victory over Somerset at Edgbaston. Overseas star Jeetan Patel led the way with a career best 5-43, all his victims falling lbw.

After the match, Warwickshire captain Ian Bell and Patel confirmed the mutual love affair between the Kiwi and the club. Bell declared that Patel will go down as one of the best overseas players ever to represent Warwickshire. That puts him in the company of illustrious predecessors such as Rohan Kanhai, Brian Lara, Allan Donald and fellow off spinner Lance Gibbs.

Patel said that he was proud to play for such a fantastic club and modestly described his job as playing a supporting role.

Somerset made a valiant effort to chase down Warwickshire’s 284-4 with significant contributions coming from Pete Trego (58) and James Hildreth (43). Trego and Tom Abell added 75 in 18 overs after Johann Myburgh and Jim Allenby went early.  Abell hit well to leg but will not have been happy about the leg-side heave off Chris Wright that brought his downfall. Hildreth too will be disappointed that, after such hard work, he tamely mistimed Hannon-Dalby to Bell at mid off.

When Somerset looked to be down and out at 161-7 in the 34th over, Hildreth supported wicket-keeper Ryan Davies in a stand of 71 in ten overs that threatened to put the visitors back in the game.  Even at the death, the last wicket pair of Tim Groenewald and Max Waller put on a stand of 42 that almost gave a final twist to the plot of a fascinating day.

Alongside Patel, Oliver Hannon-Dalby also bowled exceptionally well to return figures of 2-41 that, in the end, stifled Somerset’s slender hopes. Playing a minor part in the win was someone who started the day at home in Stafford.  Reserve wicket-keeper Alex Mellor was summoned to take over from Tim Ambrose who tweaked a hamstring whilst batting. Mellor’s dash to Edgbaston could have ended in being cast as villain when he missed stumping Hildreth off Josh Poysden but all ended well for him.

Earlier in the day, Warwickshire’s total of 284-4 looked to be par or slightly over on a worn, but true, batting pitch.  The innings was founded on old-fashioned shot making by the experienced pair of Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell plus Sam Hain – a wise head on young shoulders if ever there was one. Trott and Hain shared an opening stand of 90 in 18.2 overs. When Trott hit a leg-stump half volley for four, experienced watchers murmured ‘show me something new.’ So Trotty obliged by hitting Allenby back over his head for four.

Craig Overton embarked on the futile exercise of sledging Trott who looked set for his fourth hundred in the competition this year. It was a real surprise then, when he popped a gentle return catch to Roelef van der Merwe. Trott’s 44 came from 59 balls.

Hain played some fine boundary shots early in his innings, including an exquisite back foot square drive off Craig Overton and a pull off Allenby who bowled nine steady overs at the start of the innings.

When they signed Van der Merwe, Somerset were presumably looking for mountains of runs rather than a leading role as a spinner.  But his two wickets today took him to 14 in the competition. Until Ian Bell hit him for 16 in three balls late on, he contained the batsmen well with some steady left-arm spin.

Hain and Bell added 88 in 17.3 overs but found acceleration difficult. Hain showed great maturity in his wristy placement of the ball. A sweep to fine leg off Peter Trego demonstrated awareness and originality combined with technical excellence.

Both Bell and Hain became slightly bogged down and Hain eventually hit Lewis Gregory to mid wicket to perish for 86 off 106 balls, with six fours.

Bell took a while to find his best form. He edged Trego through the slips and, later, was almost caught by Tom Abell at deep square leg off Max Waller. But, as he gained in confidence, he began to employ his full range of shots, pulling Overton through mid wicket, lofting Trego over mid off and reverse sweeping Waller.

Once Hain departed, Ambrose kept Bell company despite sustaining a leg injury that caused him to need a runner.  But when he was out at 227-3 with six overs left, it seemed the right time for Laurie Evans to come in for a cameo.  His 19 off 17 balls wasn’t one of his more dramatic efforts but he and Bell did add 47 in less than five overs.

When Bell hit van der Merwe for four followed by two sixes over mid off from consecutive balls, he looked to have a century and a team total of 300 in his sights. In the end, he had to settle for 94 off 90 balls with seven fours and those two sixes, and an innings score of 284-4 that eventually proved to be just about enough.

Man of the Match

The man of the match has to be Jeetan Patel with his 5-43. He squeezes anxious batsmen like a boa constrictor devouring a plump and juicy ocelot.

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