Hampshire have all but secured their place in the quarter finals of this year’s T20 Blast with a tight bowling performance to grab a six run win over Somerset at the Ageas bowl. With the weather in the south tomorrow night looking abhorrent, only a huge swing in net run rate from Glamorgan can deny them a spot in the last eight.
Hampshire were determined and dogged in their defence of what was perceived to be an under par total of 143/7. Yasir Arafat was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers using all his experience to return figures of 4/37 from his four overs.
Somerset were never really in the chase, and despite a small partnership of 38 from Tom Cooper and James Hildreth, the Cidermen were always behind the asking rate.
It was Arafat who made the initial vital breakthrough as he removed the dangerous Jim Allenby for 15 with a slower ball, the Australian could only succeed in looping to cover from his leading edge. The former Pakistan international then cleaned up Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton, both bowled, as the chase slipped out of Somerset’s reach.
Alongside Allenby, Somerset handed a county debut to 22 year-old batsman Adam Hose. The elegant right handed opener did not look out of place whilst scoring 20, and showed enough talent to justify his newly signed two year deal.
Somerset fielded a vey youthful side, as they left out Marcus Trescothick, Alfonso Thomas and Abdur Rehman from their XI, leaving Trego and Hildreth as the old head. The experience of Pete Trego was of little help tonight however, as he was only able to inflict one lusty leg side maximum before perishing to Will Smith’s off spin.
Whilst Arafat used his experience to restrict Somerset in their chase, Mason Crane is just starting out his county career. The 18 year-old leg-spinner bowled beautifully to finish with 0/28 from his four overs, and bowled with admirable control.
Hampshire’s total of 143/7 was accumulated on the back of a successful opening 10 overs, predominantly orchestrated by Michael Carberry. One of England’s plethora of discarded Test openers, Carberry is back doing what he does best; flaying county attacks in white ball cricket.
With both Overtons opening the bowling, Carberry was quickly into his stride launching a brace of towering sixes. The opener had been feeling under the weather in the lead up to the match, but he showed no ill effects as he guided his side to 56 without loss in the Powerplay.
At the other end, James Vince looked a little more disjointed but still managed to eek out 24 from 21 balls before falling victim to an athletic piece of fielding from Jamie Overton. Reaching down after completing his follow through, the lanky seam bowler under-armed the ball at the stumps and left Vince well short of his ground.
If Crane is looking for inspiration of how to bowl leg spin in T20, he need look no further than Max Waller. The blonde cherubic bowler wheeled his way to 3/17 as he mixed his variations with good changes of pace to outfox many of the Hampshire batsmen.
The first 10 overs saw Hampshire realise 84 runs for the loss of Vince and Adam Wheater – who fell first ball to Waller. In the second part of the innings, Somerset turned the screw well, and alongside Waller, Lewis Gregory put in a good shift in the death overs to ensure that Hampshire’s total was eminently gettable.
However, it was not to be for Somerset, as their defeat ended what has been a pretty torrid T20 campaign. It says it all that Chris Gayle finishes as their top run scorer, despite playing just three matches.
For Hampshire, they can now look forward to a relatively stress free Friday evening, and begin to dream of a sixth successive Final’s Day appearance.