Somerset edge Notts to seal last Finals Day spot

Somerset edge Notts to seal last Finals Day spot

Max Waller (Pic via YouTube, with thanks)

 

James Hildreth’s 52, followed by an unbroken partnership of 81 between the two Somerset skippers Lewis Gregory and Tom Abell saw the home side set Notts’ 209-5 having been inserted by the Outlaws. 

Gregory scored 60* off just 24 balls complete with five sixes whilst Abell notched his highest T20 score of 46* off 40 balls. Rapid running between the wickets allowed them to score quickly even when they couldn’t reach the ropes, this making a significant difference between the two sides at Taunton today.

“I thought we were excellent in the field and running between the wickets, we have a lot of youth that helps.”Gregory said.

“They have a slightly more experienced squad than us. I think Tommy and Hildy ran them ragged in the middle. It’s about adapting to what you have in front of you and I think we did that very well today.”

Somerset were slightly fortunate the weather gave Gregory an extra day to recover from a groin injury that may well have significantly affected him yesterday:

“I was going to give it a go. It’s not 100% but that’s the nature of professional sport. You’ve gotta play with niggles and when you’re not particularly fit. I wasn’t fine, I was saying to Tommy ‘can you keep hitting it out the park please’, but you’ve got to do your best out there, luckily today it was enough!”

On being in the form of his life arguably with bat and ball, especially in the T20 Blast this season, Gregory said:

“It’s one of them. I’m going in at good times when we’re in good positions for me to go out there and capitalise on. Hopefully there are a couple more games where I can do the same thing.”

And on whether he might promote himself up the order depending on the situation at Finals Day:

“I think we’re always looking to adapt and be flexible. Corey’s had an amazing T20 campaign for us, we’re always looking to get him in at the right time so he can be as destructive as possible, we’ve done that throughout this competition pretty well. Obviously he didn’t come off today, but the exciting thing for me is that someone’s putting their hand up all the time.

“We’ve got to go straight up to Leeds tomorrow morning, so we’ll only have a few drinks tonight with our eyes on the 4-day game starting at Headingley on Wednesday.” concluded the Somerset skipper.

The preview I wrote almost five days ago now stated this had, on paper, the potential to be the greatest match of the four quarter-finals, and that it was, by quite some distance after three fairly one-sided quarter-finals last week.

It lasted all 240 balls, saw 399 runs and 15 wickets. Superb efforts from the Somerset groundsmen, Simon Lee and his team got this spectacle produced after such torrential rain yesterday.

Yet again Somerset were two down inside the powerplay overs, but Abell and Hildreth combined superbly together to take them to 107-4 after Myburgh’s standing ovation for his 27 on his final CACG appearance.

Anderson came and went swiftly, but Gregory continued where he left off in almost every other Somerset Blast match this season, taking five balls to reach the boundary, then blitzing it to all parts whilst Abell merrily sprinted between the wickets for all 49 of his minutes at the crease.

In their reply Notts were well ahead of where Somerset were for the first 17 overs, but when they went from 156-5 to 166-9, their middle-order heart had been ripped out and it was down to just Gurney and Carter to score the remaining 44 runs required.

Earlier Alex Hales showed all his class to score 45 off 24 balls and Libby and Moores looked comfortable enough supporting him. But no-one else got going and the expensive Jamie Overton helped himself to another T20 five-fer with his right-arm rockets, even though Hales had earlier taken him for four fours in an over. 5-47 he finished with, Waller taking four of those wickets for him with great athletic efforts.

It was well worth the frustrating 22-hour wait for Somerset fans as a 90% full County Ground saw their side produce an adequate, though not sensational, performance to clinch the final Finals Day spot. September 15th sees them play Sussex in likely the second semi-final of the day at Edgbaston.

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