Vitality Blast – Somerset v Hampshire at Taunton

Vitality Blast – Somerset v Hampshire at Taunton

T20 Blast leading runscorer and Hampshire skipper James Vince strokes 129* in Hampshire’s 208 which proves to be just enough to take the points from Taunton. This the highest ever score for a Hampshire man in T20 cricket.

Tom Banton scored 54 and Rilee Rossouw 55, but when he injured himself and then was dismissed soon after it was too much for Somerset’s five to eight to have to swing almost every ball to the ropes when fresh to the crease.

Nathan Ellis (1-27) bowled particularly well, showing all his experience at the death alongside Chris Wood (2-26). Hampshire go fifth, Somerset remain second in the South Group.

Somerset won the toss again and opted to bowl. The second innings was always going to be the pivotal 20 overs here.

One change for Somerset, Lewis Goldsworthy out for George Bartlett (fresh from chilling on Lyme beach yesterday) getting his first Blast game of the season, he did top score in the only other professional T20 played at the CACG this summer-v Sri Lanka development – 82* off 38 balls he got then!

The crowd was not full, a chance of rain on a Thursday night when the Sky cameras here not favourable for that, but there were plenty of big-name ex-players present. Steffan Jones was chatting to fellow “miserable Welshman” Robert Croft (his words not mine!) Interesting link here is that Kate Cross was also here on a watching brief, her England Test side have been training at Steffan Jones’ (soon to be ex) workplace Wellington School the past week ready for the Test match here v South Africa on Monday.

Ben McDermott appeared to edge the first ball of the match behind but did not walk and was not given. Little matter, two balls later he top-edged a pull off Lammonby, Rossouw with another catch, 0-1.

England under 19s’ Tom Prest gave Vince superb support with 62 off 46 balls, 144 the score before the next wicket fell in the 15th over.

Gregory’s second over going for 31 rather silenced the home fans. He only bowled two overs, going for 43 runs.

Somerset did come back such that no other Hawks batter reached double figures, but by now the damage was done and Vince just kept on going and going. Nine fours and ten sixes he struck, 208 his strike rate – staggering numbers from a man averaging 66 this tournament with 528 runs to his name. Still not good enough for England’s white-ball team though!

There was a bit of rain in the interval, but the covers were not on for long, so no loss of overs.

Somerset’s former King’s College opening pair were slightly fortunate to reach 45-0 at the end of the powerplay, at this point 11.5 the required run rate.

The ninth over saw further lives for Smeed. He hit one straight through backward point’s hands for four, then two balls later he had another leading edge fly for six, millimetres from the hands of a diving Tom Alsop at fine leg this time. Eventually Fuller did get Smeed, caught behind one-handed, smartly for 43, 81-1.

Rossouw hit his first ball for four then dispatched his second ball into the retirement flats off Liam Dawson. Being a full toss, latterly given a no ball – eight runs, 19 runs off the spinner’s second over. Dawson did not know where to bowl to the South African, full tosses cannon-fodder to the Blast’s top run scorer before tonight.

Banton was dropped pulling to deep midwicket on 43 in the 11th. Rossouw was not perturbed, hitting the next ball for six again.

Banton ran himself into the dirt, quite literally first ball of the thirteenth and was fortunate there was not a direct hit from mid-off to send him packing. Eventually he was bowled by Chris Wood for 54 from 38 balls.

Nathan Ellis’s third over, the 16th was impressive (only five runs), Rossouw playing and missing a couple of times.

Abell attempted a scoop and was caught at short third off Wheal for 13. After which none of the new batters could get going quickly enough to support Rossouw. Again no one below four reaching double figures.

38 needed off the last three overs was not helped by Rossouw whacking the ball into his own kneecap as his back leg bent into the shot exposing flesh from under the pad.

Dawson came back and had the hobbling Rossouw held holing out to cow corner in front of the Sky Sports pod for 55. Rossouw finishing the night 30 runs behind Vince in the Blast top runscoring charts.

For some reason Bristol-finisher-extraordinaire Roelof van der Merwe was held back, but in fairness Ben Green did hit his first ball for six after Lammonby came and went for two off four.

Last over 18 needed. Green hesitated so Gregory was run out first ball, van der Merwe needing 17 off five balls. Ellis bowled him second ball, the bails went flying and the Somerset faithful made for the gates.

There was no repeat of the Lazarus miracle this time from Somerset (Ben Green, Craig Overton and Josh Davey heroics downed Hampshire from nowhere last September to get to the 2021 T20 Blast final).

“We did not perform at the back end” said Somerset skipper Abell.

“I struggled a bit early on, but it’s an unbelievable place to bat” said centurion Vince.


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