Worcestershire Rapids earned their first win of the Vitality T20 Blast campaign after coming out on top in a topsy-turvy encounter with Somerset at Taunton.
Pat Brown held his nerve to defend the 13 Somerset required off the final over, having Roelof van der Merwe caught behind when it came down to five needed off three.
Ollie Sale needed five off the final ball with the bat to give Somerset a bright spark out of the ashes.
But Somerset in truth did not look like chasing the seemingly below-par 168 from the early stages as former King’s College Taunton pupil Charlie Morris had Babar Azam lbw first ball of the second innings.
Somerset were missing Tom Banton and James Hildreth meaning Tom Abell’s 60 was a lone vigil amongst an inexperienced and/or out of form Somerset batting line-up.
After the Rapids opted to field, Max Waller bowled Riki Wessels for one in the first over, allowing Jake Libby, who scored 75* in the reverse fixture, to cut Waller for four first ball to get the Rapids going.
Sale’s first over (the third of the game) went for 17, a week on from his horror final over against Warwickshire, rocketing the Rapids up to 24-1 after three.
Economical spin bowling from Waller and Roelof van der Merwe in the middle overs saw Worcestershire slow a little.
Gregory eventually rushed Hamish Rutherford, who launched one miles into the Taunton air, but only three yards in front of himself, to be caught and bowled for 46.
Ben Cox came in at four, and, as keepers do, hit into weird areas, such as an early sweep for six in Tom Lammonby’s first over, and later scooping the same man for further boundaries.
Jake Libby tends to fare well batting against Somerset – maybe he feels at home against the west country men he grew up playing with and against in the Devon and Cornwall leagues.
After 75* in their losing cause at Edgbaston last week, he reached 48 before holing out to Abell off fellow Plymouth man Lewis Gregory when 111-2; Nelson struck!
Although Gregory took 2-31, the other three pacemen all went for at least near 10 an over.
Somerset were grateful to see the Rapids finish on a below par 168-4.
Babar then fell lbw to Morris first ball of the Somerset’s innings.
Worcestershire should have been on a hat-trick on the third ball of the second innings. Will Smeed’s first ball in professional cricket saw Morris drop a caught and bowled chance plopped straight back towards him, but tricky falling over in his follow through.
Smeed smoked a four through the covers to get off the mark in professional cricket, but then hit one high into the night sky for ‘keeper Cox to catch, Adam Finch the bowler, 7-2.
Steve Davies decided that the best way to score on this pitch was behind the wicket, trying to scoop or paddle sweep most deliveries from the seamers, then adopting a dab to third man if the bowler forced him wider.
But shuffling across his stumps in his stance ultimately drew his downfall, lbw to Brown for 12.
Gregory joined Abell at the wicket still inside the powerplay. The two skippers combined for 43 runs, but the wily Daryl Mitchell ultimately frustrated Gregory who hasn’t looked the same with the bat since his electric form last summer. He was bowled for 24 attempting a filthy shuffle and hoik.
Ed Byrom played a switch-hit straight to point and Lammonby was lucky to get away with a run-out mix up after one lovely blow for six. Somerset were 121-6 when the hero at New Road in the recent red ball game was out for 14.
Abell’s consecutive scoops for four off Finch in the 17th kept Somerset’s hopes alive, but when he was caught at backward point off Brown for 60 it really did need a miracle from Somerset’s bowlers with the willow in hand.
Consecutive fours from Craig Overton off Brown again got the home side’s hopes up, but Van der Merwe was caught behind for 15 with three balls remaining. Despite his efforts to cross during the caught behind, Overton was stuck at the other end and Sale could not hit the last ball for five.