A 96-run unbeaten partnership between Ben Green and Lewis Gregory sees Somerset through to T20 Finals’ Day as they beat Notts by five wickets with three balls remaining.
57* off 34 balls and 2-33 from returning skipper Gregory-fatherhood no hindrance to his cricketing performance seemingly. Green finished 35* after a rare bowling performance where he went at over 10 an over and only picked up one wicket-yet he is still the top wicket-taker in the Blast with 27.
Somerset’s only change saw Josh Davey out after the knock he picked up against Kent. This brought Jack Brooks in to bowl against the side he represented just last month in the T20 Blast…no such thing as being cup tied in the current county cricket rules!
Notts were without Shaheen Shah Afridi but saw Steven Mullaney, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel and Colin Munro back in, the latter two still nursing calf injuries, so the most suprising of the inclusions.
Two of the best opening partnerships in the country met and Craig Overton (2-23 from four overs bowled straight from start) and Matt Henry (1-27) comfortably took the honours, reducing Notts to 17-3 as Alex Hales, Joe Clarke and then also returning overseas Colin Munro all went cheaply.
Brooks started generously for his loan club, successive legside freebies brought fours for Montgomery then a later Patel four saw him go for 13 off his first, and incidentally only over.
Patel reached 30 off 26 balls before Gregory bowled him. Then Montgomery was dropped by a diving Tom Abell at deep midwicket to reach 50, not costly though as next ball he chipped one for a diving Craig Overton to swallow up from long off-his 20th catch of the tournament!
This wicket sending Ben Green clear of Zak Chappell (unable to add anymore this year) atop the Blast wickettaking charts.
Some much needed fireworks from Imad Wasim (31* off 15 balls) in partnership with veteran Steven Mullaney (18* off 14 balls) pushed Notts up to 157-6 but this always seemed under par on the highest scoring professional T20 ground in the world.
Tom Banton needed six for 3000 T20 runs worldwide and got exactly that before causing a lengthy delay as the sky cameras eventually decided he gloved behind a reverse sweep. Later the same over, Tom Kohler-Cadmore was bowled-Imad Wasim earning a double wicket maiden inside the powerplay and two of Somerset’s top three Blast scorers gone before 10 on the board.
Abell and Will Smeed rebuilt and ran well for 44 until Smeed (22 off 18) could not quite make a cheeky two in the eighth over-Calvin Harrison’s first. The former Kings’ College and Taunton Deane cricketer, picked ahead of Matt Carter again, then took two crucial wickets in his second over. Sean Dickson (4) lbw attempting a reverse sweep and Abell (26) caught behind. Home fans again wondering how Harrison (2-26) and others like Jake Lintott had slipped through the Somerset net to go professional further north.
Gregory and Green now had to play risk-free cricket for a while, calm the situation and take it deep, which they did.
With 17 overs gone, Somerset super fan and mascot of the day Bodhi, having just been interviewed on the big screen, told his mum next to us: “there’s no point going to finals day if our team don’t get there!”
Gregory did it for him you could say as he slog swept Wasim for six in the 18th. 19 needed off 12 balls but Gregory did not fancy using all of them, he went; 2461, then .1 to Green seeing Green on strike needing five off the last bowled by big Luke Fletcher.
Somerset cricket players (past and present) all over the Thatchers Deck, Dom Bess, Ollie Sale, Josh Davey and their families and friends woke up from their nail-biting as Hey Jude was blasted around the CACG as Notts spent an age setting their field.
No field set could allow for Wasim dropping Green with three to win on what turned out to be a no ball. So a free hit with one to win saw Green smash one out to deep midwicket-the catch irrelevant as the one had already been completed Gregory and Green already metaphorically on their way to finals day next Saturday.
As Gregory put it post-match, Somerset have “depth in all areas and six genuine bowling options” this was shown in spades tonight.
Somerset play Surrey at an all-South Group finals day next saturday (15th) as they defeated Lancashire at Old Trafford.