Match Zone: Essex (H) in the NatWest t20 Blast (3 June)

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It was a beautiful sunny evening at the Cooper Associates County Ground for the start of the home t20 campaign against Essex. After two away defeats the home side needed a win desperately to kick start their 20-over season so it was all set to be a great contest.

Somerset announced the following squad: Allenby (c), Gayle, Trego, Jayawardene, Hildreth, Myburgh, Van der Merwe, Davies (wk), Leask, J Overton, Gregory, Arafat, Waller, Groenewald.

However when the team was confirmed Craig Overton would join brother Jamie in the starting XI with Hildy, Mybs, Leasky and Groeners omitted.

Somerset won the toss and elected to bowl first.

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Umpires: Mike Burns and Nigel Cook

ESPN Cricinfo scorecard here

Action unfolded

Essex innings

  • A tidy start from both sides with Essex 14-0 off 2 overs but in the third Craig Overton encouraged the dangerous Ryder to feather one through to Davies for just 7. 17-1.
  • Jamie Overton’s first 2 overs had gone for 19 and his brother took some treatment in his second going for 15 as Essex made their way to 51-1 after 5 overs.
  • Lewis Gregory got Lawrence with his first ball of the night and the runs generated just 3 so Essex finished the powerplay 54-2. Well done Lewis.
  • The next three overs yielded just 13 runs for the visitors but Somerset had some success with the first ball of the 10th with Bopara c Jayawardene b Waller 8. 67-3 and Essex were 70-3 at the halfway stage.
  • 12 more runs added in 2.1 overs when Lewis struck again after 12.2 when he caught and bowled the dangerous looking Westley for 40. Ashar Zaidi joined Ryan ten Doeschate and it was 97-4 after 13. Gregory’s figures were 2-16 off 3 at this stage with Max Waller 1-17, also off 3 overs.
  • In the next few overs the batters tried to smash their way out of trouble with some success, and both Overton’s were on the receiving end for a while. Jamie had to wait until his last over to get any wickets and then he got 2-in-2 balls.
  • ten Doeschate was c Waller b J Overton 47 (Essex 165-5) and one ball later his brother caught Zaidi for a useful 31. Heading into the last over the away team were 166-6.
  • Arafat snared the veteran Foster lbw 3 and the innings closed on 178-7. A decent enough total.
  • Max and Lewis bowled a combined 7 overs for just 42 runs whilst the Overton’s 8 overs went for 90!

Somerset innings

  • Slowish start for Somerset who were 12-0 off the first two including a boundary for Allenby. In the third Gayle hit his first four’s off Kiwi Matt Quinn.
  • But it was in the fourth that the fireworks started. Veteran David Masters’ first five balls of that over went 4-6-4-6-6 before he bowled two wides and Gayle felt sorry for him and handed him a dot ball. Those 28 runs took Somerset to 49-0 off just four overs.
  • 7 runs followed in the next before Gayle took Quinn to task hitting his 4th six of the night. The over went for 13 runs and Somerset were 69-0 at the end of the powerplay with Universe Boss on 46.
  • There were 6 singles in the 7th before Gayle was out first ball of the 8th when Wahab Riaz had him caught by Lawrence just one short of his fifty. 75-1.
  • Tregs decided he wanted some fun and he hit Riaz for 2 fours in the rest of that over so 87-1 off 8 overs.
  • At the halfway stage Somerset were 100-1. Trego smashed youngster Callum Taylor for 18 in 5 balls. It would be Taylor’s only over of the night.
  • Tregs useful 34 came to an end after 11.5 overs when he was c Lawrence b Ashar Zaidi. 122-2 now.
  • Jayawardene came and went quickly and was bowled Masters for just 6 and the home team were having a little wobble on 129-3.
  • Lewis Gregory came in ahead of Van der Merwe and he hit 14 in the 15th over off Masters. With just 5 overs left Somerset needed 26 runs from 30 balls at the rate of 10.20.
  • Lewis and skipper Allenby went about their business quietly and led Somerset over the finishing line with 13 balls left. Gregory hit Riaz for four to seal the win. Both batsmen finished 37 not out and Lewis was named man of the match.

Result

Somerset beat Essex by 7 wickets with 13 balls remaining.

After the game Chris Gayle told the official site: “It’s great to be back in Taunton and tonight’s win was a great team effort.  In the first two games we didn’t get the results we wanted, so to actually get a win tonight was fantastic and hopefully we can use it to get some momentum going into the next game.

“We bowled fantastically well and they all chipped in well, so credit must go to the bowlers and the guys in the field did well too.  Then, to finish it off with the bat we couldn’t have asked for a better display of cricket today and we are looking to take momentum from this.

“It was difficult to say what par was but anything over 180 would give you a chance to win the game.  Varying your bowlers was always going to be the key and we did that well.  We got off to a good start as well and set it up for the middle order to come in and people could play their natural game and get a win.

“My form is a bit in patches at the moment and is a bit up and down, but when I get the chance to score a few like I did tonight and put the team in a winning position, that is what is more important.

“The crowd and the cheer was fantastic and I just love it here so it’s great to be back here at Taunton.  They made me feel so welcome and I want to smash sixes which is what I did today.”