Will Smeed’s 78 off 42 balls, 30s from Ben Green and Kasey Aldridge and 17* off eight from Craig Overton see Somerset over the line after an impressive comeback from Gloucestershire. They were 9-3 so did well to reach 186-8.
Gloucestershire’s Zaman Akhter (2-36 today having debuted on Sunday) and Ajeet Singh Dale (2-37 debut today) both impressed bowling at pace (Glos have had nine Blast debuts this summer).
22 off two overs were needed by Somerset, but Hammond’s gamble to bowl his quicks out early did not pay off as Graeme van Buuren could not defend eight off the last.
Three early wickets saw Glos rattled at 9-3, the highlight a Matt Henry pearler to have exciting young southpaw Ben Charlesworth gone for a second ball duck. Add in a Smeed diving drop of Grant Roelofsen-the game could almost have been over inside four overs. Another impressive youngster, Ben Wells also got a duck before a partnership of 35 between James Bracey and Roelofsen. What would have been a legside wide from Davey was chased by Bracey and skewed to point – out for 17 off eight. Previously struggling overseas bat Roelofsen put on 71 with Graeme van Buuren (36 off 21) and did go on to notch his first T20 50 of the season.Then two controversial run outs came within two overs. First Roelofsen (52 off 39 balls) was run out (by Abell) when Henry got in his way backing up at the non-striker’s end. Somerset kept their appeal despite the pleas of the Eds on BBC Bristol commentary. Then next over David Payne was run out again at the non-strikers end, this time backing up without attempting a single as Ben Green fielded himself then backhanded onto the stumps, but what made this controversial was the Sky Sports’ third umpire/replay angle on the big screen.Sky Sports use their pod for Surrey and other ‘category a’ matches but didn’t for tonight or the season opener here v Hampshire. The only angle given being from the stump cam, which rattled when Payne’s M&H bat was an inch or so short of his ground, made this seem out but perhaps rather harsh on the left-arm seamer with no side-on angle given to see when exactly the stumps were broken.
After a few games off since relinquishing the T20 captaincy Jack Taylor was back in the runs in the West country derby as ever. Though he did upper cut Henry to Bashir at deep third but was later called a no ball -a feature that would not be available were Sky not here.
Taylor’s 42* off 33, Josh Shaw’s 14 off eight (before giving Overton another catch at long on) and 16 extras got Gloucestershire to 186-8. Below par here, but a comeback/Somerset letting them off the hook after that start.
If you could ask new T20 captain Miles Hammond what he would want in his first field-captain over in a West country derby, I doubt he would ask for more than the wicket maiden Josh Shaw produced. Hammond (perhaps Bazball inspired?) posted two slips (a rarity in T20 cricket) plus a fly third slip (t’other opening bowler David Payne), Banton snicked behind second ball.
Smeed got going t’other end, whipping Payne for six into the Colin Atkinson Pavilion, then driving Ajeet Dale over the offside for four before the best of the lot – Dale hit over the retirement flats for six.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore only got 4 and although Tom Abell surpassed 2000 career T20 runs this week he surprisingly limped to 4 off 8 tonight. 52-3 not the 9-3 Glos were but still trouble for the favourites especially when Dickson also failed to reach double figures – 64-4 after 7.1.
Smeed continued on his merry way for 78 off 42 balls as he put on 48 with Green before Dale had him caught by Graeme van Buuren (GvB).
Green’s 37 from 25 balls in a 48-run partnership with 2s T20 opening bat Kasey Aldridge had the game back in Somerset’s hands until a top edge off Dale only went to Payne at short fine.
But Overton came in and ran twos hard, interspersed with some lusty blows to leave Somerset needing eight off the last. A perhaps gamble from skipper Hammond bowling his death specialists early to try and win the game then leaving the part-time spin of GvB or a previously unused bowler to bowl the final over.
A two that should not have been, a four over extra cover and another two for Kasey Aldridge saw him to 38* and Somerset to a home quarter-final with another West country derby win-by four wickets.