Hampshire’s 190-6 seemed under par, but another decent bowling effort got the Hawks to the final as Somerset subsided under the pressure of the showpiece day again.
Hampshire won the toss and batted, unchanged from the XI which beat the Bears by 104 runs here in the quarter-final.
With Craig Overton absent with England (Hampshire missing none on this front) and Josh Davey injured (25 wickets between them in the 2022 Blast), Jack Brooks and Lewis Goldsworthy came in and Tom Lammonby took the first over again (just 4-0).
Hampshire’s slow start was transformed in the third and fourth overs of the powerplay, but left-arm spinners Roelof van der Merwe and Goldsworthy both took a wicket each in the final two overs; 68-2 after six overs.
Another fascinating sub-plot of this oft-occurring match up saw the two top runscorers of the entire tournament face off; James Vince opening for Hampshire v Rilee Rossouw, at three for Somerset.
Before today, Hampshire skipper Vince had made 653 runs in 14 innings, at a strike rate of over 146, with two hundreds and three fifties. Whilst Somerset’s Rossouw had exactly 600 from 15 knocks with seven half-centuries and a highest score of 93.
Two-time winners Hampshire had lost five T20 Blast semi-finals in a row, but did beat Somerset thanks to a Vince ton at Taunton live on sky Thursday (23rd June) of the jubilee weekend.
After eight first-class four-fers before this week Roelof van der Merwe finally completed his maiden first-class five-wicket haul at Southport on Thursday. And he continued this form today, taking 2-29 off his four with the white ball.
Tom Prest top scored with 64 off 46, but on a flat one he and Joe Weatherley (24 off 19) seemed a little slow for the Hawks in the middle-overs, leaving perhaps a little too much for Whiteley (27 off 19), Fuller and Dawson to do at the death.
Somerset would surely have taken only having to chase 191 to win, a score they have surpassed multiple times already this season and one which Lancashire sailed past a few hours earlier.
Hampshire have one of the best T20 attacks of the 2022 Blast though and they had something to say first.
Somerset had the quicker start; but Will Smeed pulling overseas bowler Nathan Ellis to James Fuller at mid-on to go for nine having nailed a six over long on earlier was not ideal for Somerset. 20-1 after 2.3 overs became 38-2 after five, Crane with the direct hit from backward point to see Banton out for 12 off 10, run out without a dive, his bat just short.
Rossouw played surprisingly sedately, but on 23 he skied Fuller to Joe Weatherley at deep mid-wicket in front of the Hollies Stand. 23 off only 20 balls damaging his strike rate of 197 of the T20 season so far too.
Abell attempted to do his thing in the middle overs, but his usually fruitful sweeps saw his departure and after this even Somerset’s strong middle-order could not help Tom Lammonby enough in the last five overs as the required rate stayed above 13s.
Lewis Gregory made 18 off 12 as westcountry hope fizzled.
Ben Green, the sole playing member of Somerset’s three lower-order saviours of this match last year, struck nine including a trademark six over long on but was run out with Somerset still needing 55 from 20 balls at 136-6.
Somerset 153 all out. Hampshire winning their sixth T20 match on the bounce and their bowling efforts particularly rewarded with a final match up with Lancashire Lightning, Somerset lose at finals day again.