Having been in County Championship action until late on Monday afternoon, Somerset and Nottinghamshire meet at Taunton in a white ball knockout game from 11am Tuesday.
Somerset come into today’s game having experienced their biggest heartbreak of 2017 so far, losing to Yorkshire by three runs at 2.45pm yesterday. Notts, meanwhile, played out a draw in Bristol yesterday having racked up 535-8 declared in their first innings vs Gloucestershire.
Somerset relatively breezed through the group phase with five wins from eight, only Essex topped them in the final group standings, although there were various points of the competition where even the most ardent of Somerset fan would not have expected their side to win. None less than the most remarkable of run chases against Surrey, when Somerset recovered from 22-5 to go on and win by four wickets thanks to a 235-run partnership from Dean Elgar and Roelof van der Merwe-who ended up 165*.
Nottinghamshire squeezed into the Quarter Finals of the One Day Cup with a no result at Northants, on the last day of the Group Stage fixtures. This followed an inconsistent campaign where the Champions of 2013, and semi-finalists of 2014 and 2015, lost their opening two games.
Victories over local rivals Leicestershire and Derbyshire got them back on track but they were left sweating on the final day, where both Leics’ and Durham failed to win when a victory for either would have sent The Outlaws out. Notts got through mainly due to their international quality bowling attack.
A batting line-up that looks top notch on paper has let them down this summer, they only hit 300 once in the group stage (303-6 against Warwickshire). Without England’s Alex Hales, they will rely heavily on their 2016 star openers, Riki Wessels and Michael Lumb. The pair were the instigators in mammoth scores of 445-8 and 415-5 last year, but have not shown the same form this season.
Like a fine wine the all-rounder Samit Patel appears to only get better with age, fresh from hitting a career best 257* in the Championship on Sunday and having played a match winning 103* in his sides last One Day Cup win, Samit’s batting and bowling will be vital if Notts are to make the Semi Finals. He will particularly fancy taking wickets on a pitch dubbed `Ciderabad’ due to the West country pitch’s tendency to turn particularly sharply in the last two seasons.
Jamie Overton looked particularly potent with the ball in his sides harrowing loss to Yorkshire over the last four days. He personally will feel the pain of defeat worse than most, as he was the man who gave away the final wicket when he was set on 20 with only three runs required to win.
He should not come into this match completely devoid of confidence though; he should not forget his thunderbolt spell, which inspired Somerset to rip through Yorkshire’s top and middle order after lunch on day one. He has also taken one-day wickets for Somerset, enough to have powerful ECB heads mentioning him and England in the same sentence, especially after his twin brother’s call-up. He’ll likely lead the attack vs Notts.
Adam Hose made his Championship debut on Friday but was struggling with a thigh injury so did not come in until number seven in the first innings, when he got a duck. But come Sunday, evening he was fit enough to come in at the expected number five spot for the second innings, proceeding to score 68 in a crucial 118-run partnership with Steven Davies. Ultimately, though, these two could be blamed for not taking their team over the line, leaving it up to Jamie Overton who had too much pressure on his young shoulders with an even younger partner in 19-year-old Dominic Bess at the other end.
Expect Roelof van der Merwe to play tomorrow. He is much more of a one-day spinner than Leach or Bess and is a much better batsman, and similarly quality fielder, to other one-day spinner Max Waller who would likely miss out if they opt for just one spin man. Craig Overton has just been announced in the England t20 squad for the last two of three matches v South Africa in the next month (one being the first international of this millennium in Taunton), so he should go into this game full of confidence.
Somerset squad: Jim Allenby (c), Johann Myburgh, Steve Davies (wk), Peter Trego, Dean Elgar, James Hildreth, Adam Hose, Roelof van der Merwe, Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Josh Davey, Jamie Overton, Tim Groenewald, Max Waller.
Notts benefit from the return of James Pattinson after Australia’s early exit from the Champions Trophy. Though they will still be missing England openers Alex Hales and Jake Ball, who have become key members of their international side with bat and ball respectively. They also have Andrew Strauss’ permission to play Stuart Broad, who won’t be needed for international duty until the South Africa test matches in July. Notts’ number three spot is likely up for grabs between Brendan Taylor and Greg Smith to complete a solid top four of Lumb, Wessels and Patel.
Notts squad: Chris Read (c) (wk), Brendan Taylor, James Pattinson, Steven Mullaney, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb and Billy Root
Weather & Conditions
Having had a County Championship match v Yorkshire the last four days at Taunton, the square will not have had much time to recover from the fair pounding from nearly 400 overs being played on it since Friday. Of course they will use a different wicket for the different format, and the dry weather forecast will make the groundsmen’s work easier. Tuesday’s forecast is dry but overcast, with temperatures making it up to 18 degrees Celsius, the cloud cover will do its best to assist the bowlers in swinging the white ball.
Date: 13th June
Ground: Cooper Associates County Ground Taunton
Odds (SkyBet): Somerset 6/5, Notts 4/6