Vitality Blast – Somerset v Surrey at Taunton

Vitality Blast – Somerset v Surrey at Taunton

Smeed (98) and Abell (70)’s 165-run-partnership propels Somerset to 218 to smash table toppers Surrey by 47 runs and seal a home quarter-final.

Craig Overton (4-25) started with a double wicket maiden, and took a third off his seventh ball, by which time he still had not conceded a run.

However happy he was with 98 from 51 balls, Smeed was furious to be out in the 90s again (out for 97 and 99 in this year’s PSL.)

The 150-run-partnership came inside 15 overs off 67 balls.

Skipper Tom Abell’s 70 off 36 was purely dreamy batting, out strike-rating Smeed with almost delicate brutality.

Three of the top four third-wicket partnerships for Somerset in T20 cricket have come this summer, and all have involved Abell. Tonight outdoing his efforts with Rossouw v Essex at Chelmsford by eight runs.

Yet it did not start all that well for the home side. Tom Banton (9) ran himself out, oddly coming back for a second taking on Jamie Overton’s rocket arm.

Rossouw hit his first ball to the boundary, as usual, then found Cam Steel with his second, 29-2 after four.

Then ensued the incredible partnership Somerset fans will remember for aeons.

Reece Topley’s return accounted for both set batters in the 17th. Abell caught by Hardie, then 197-4 when Smeed went last ball of the 17th. Gus Atkinson and Topley (2-26) bowled further single-figure run-scoring overs and then Jordan took three wickets in the last to bring it back for Surrey at the death.

Green (11 off five) was the only other man to reach double figures for Somerset who struggled in the powerplay, dominated the middle-overs, then faltered at the death.

Abell picked up a knock in his runscoring exploits, so George Bartlett subbed for him, Lewis Gregory resuming skippering.

A second ball breakthrough for C. Overton, Lammonby catching Will Jacks at mid-on for 0 (‘hit the road Jack’🎵 played of course) before Tom Curran fell the same way, for the same score, after his bizarre promotion ahead of Laurie Evans at three. Wickets and play and misses all the first over saw-one of the best opening overs we’ve seen in T20 cricket in recent times.

Craig’s second over saw Jamie Smith snick to Gregory at slip. Seven balls bowled, three wickets and not a run yet scored off Craig Overton. Twin brother Jamie sliding down the order? Demoted below Tom Curran and Chris Jordan surprisingly, so no twin rematch yet. 11-3 after 2.1, Somerset cockahoop.

Gregory continued his tricky period with the ball in T20 cricket (see report from the last home T20 when his two overs v Hampshire went for 43), going for 21 off his first four balls – the ninth over of the match costing 24 runs.

Jordan showed impressive bat speed to scythe a career best 73 promoted up to five to get batting practise for the quarter-finals where Surrey may need their lower-order to bat.

Taunton doing its thing boosting Jordan’s average above 15 from his 283 games in the format.

Bartlett did drop Jordan at deep extra cover on 53 off Green in the 13th. Laurie Evans the only other top order scorer for Surrey with 39 off 32 balls.

The real line of tonight’s pantomime entertainment, the match up we had all been waiting for came in the 14th. Overton v Overton episode two!

First ball seemed a premeditated block, next one a single to long on, then (after a Jordan LB) a hoiked edged four through third. Then Craig had his man, twin Jamie gone, caught behind for 6.

Cue massive celebrations, revenge for the Championship concussion!

Bartlett eventually got his comeuppance in the same position, safely taking Jordan off Siddle in the 17th.

Cam Steel managed 19 but Surrey were never on top in the chase, just some ill-disciplined bowling from Somerset allowing them to get nearer than deserved. 171-9 they finished with 11 balls remaining – Gus Atkinson not batting.

Surrey already had their home QF sealed, hence their trialling of a few squad players and change of order tonight. Just next week all four quarterfinals will be played before the new July 16th date for T20 finals day:

Wednesday – Surrey v Yorkshire Vikings at the Oval

Thursday – Bears v Hampshire Hawks at Edgbaston

Friday – Lancashire Lightning v Essex Eagles at Old Trafford

Saturday – Somerset v Derbyshire Falcons at Taunton


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