Somerset head to Canterbury to kick start their 2016 NatWest t20 Blast campaign against Kent with skipper Jim Allenby declaring he will be ‘hugely disappointed’ if his team doesn’t make the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Allenby was the star of the show when Somerset last won a t20 game way back on 26th June at Uxbridge when he scored an unbeaten 89 in his team’s total of 177-1 chasing Middlesex’s total of 171-7. This was Somerset’s fourth win in the competition and, after that victory, his team lost four-on-the-trot before their last game against Middlesex was washed out leaving the West Country side second from bottom in the southern qualifying group.
Allenby, who has been named captain for the one day competitions, did skipper the side in the 2015 50-over Royal London One Day Cup with some success and always appeared to be the most obvious candidate for the captaincy after Alfonso Thomas left the club last season and with Marcus Trescothick and Chris Rogers now concentrating on the four-day stuff.
Allenby told the club’s official website: “If we don’t make the quarter finals this year I will certainly be very disappointed,
“Once you get there it can be the luck of the draw but as far as I’m concerned a home quarter final is the target. If we don’t make the last eight it will be hugely disappointing, because that’s what we are aiming for and we do love playing here.”
His claims may seem ambitious given Somerset’s fortunes last season but the club has recruited well in the winter signing former players Yasir Arafat and Roleof van der Merwe and players of undoubted potential in Scottish international Michael Leask and wicket keeper Ryan Davies, who makes a swift return to Kent, the county from whom Somerset signed him.
They all make the squad for the Kent game but the club’s fans will have to wait until the game at Sussex on 1st June to see the debut of Mahela Jayawardene and the much anticipated return of West Indian Chris Gayle.
Somerset squad to play Kent: Jim Allenby (c), Yasir Arafat, Ryan Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Michael Leask, Johann Myburgh, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe, Max Waller.
Somerset will have to be at the top of their game against a young Kent side that made last season’s quarter finals after emerging from the group stages as the team to watch. They only went of the competition after scoring as many runs as their opponents and eventual winners Lancashire, but lost more wickets. Kent beat Somerset twice last season.
Kent: Sam Northeast (c), Adam Ball, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Mitch Claydon, Matt Coles, Fabian Cowdrey, Joe Denly, Sean Dickson, David Griffiths, Matt Hunn, Tom Latham, Imran Qayyum, Adam Rouse, Darren Stevens, Ivan Thomas, James Tredwell.
The game starts at 7pm.
The game’s scorecard on ESPN Cricinfo here
Live coverage from BBC Somerset here
Umpires: Neil Bainton & Nigel Llong
Somerset opted to omit Craig Overton and Lewis Gregory from the team handing a debut to Michael Leask. Allenby won the toss and elected to Somerset to bat.
- Having hit the first boundary of Somerset’s campaign, Mybs was first man out after 1.1 overs when he was c Stevens b Griffiths for just 5. Somerset 9-1.
- Captain Allenby was joined by Tregs and the two enjoyed a partnership of 134. Scoring was gradual initially with the total 18 from 2 overs, 29 from 4 and 52-1 after 6 overs at the end of the powerplay.
- Allenby hit the club’s first six of the campaign in the 7th over off Tredwell taking Somerset to 66-1. Trego then hit the same bowler completely out of the ground to put Somerset handily placed on 85-1 after 9 overs.
But Allenby led his side’s attack well reaching his 50 after just 32 balls in the 11th over, one that went for 17 runs off Stevens taking Somerset from 96-1 to 113-1.
- The boundaries were flowing by now putting Somerset in the driving seat. The 13th over proved Somerset’s most lucrative with Stevens again the hapless victim with 19 runs generated. Allenby smashed him for back-to-back sixes. Somerset 142-1 with 7 overs left and a score over 200 looking likely.
- But Tregs was out 2 balls into the next over c Tredwell b Cowdrey for 57 in 30 balls. He struck 4×4 & 4×6 in a fine knock. Somerset 143-2.
- Leask stepped in to make his bow and hit 1-1-6 in his first 3 balls. But that was it, he was c Blake on the mid-wicket boundary edge b Coles 8.
- There followed a few surprises in the batting order with Ryan Davies stepping out to face his old club. But he lasted just 3 balls out c Denly, again on the mid-wicket boundary, b Cowdrey 5. On the last ball of the same over Jamie Overton was out to the same bowler and bowler in the same fashion for just 1 run. Somerset were now 162-5 after 16 overs having been 143-1 off 13.1 overs.
- Roly VDM hit consecutive fours before he was bowled Griffiths for 9 and the skipper was joined by Hildreth, batting at number 8! Hildy hit a four first ball.
- Allenby’s great knock came to an end in the 19th when he was b Claydon for 91 in 59 balls. In all he hit 10×4 & 3×6 at a rate of 154.23. Well batted captain! Somerset 186-7 with 9 balls left.
- These final deliveries generated just 11 runs and Somerset fell short of 200 by 3 runs. Hildy and Yasir were both 8*. Fabian Cowdrey took 3-18 for Kent.
- Somerset’s 197-7 was a competitive one but the feeling was the total could have been higher if the flurry of wickets hadn’t come when they did.
- That said 80% voted for Somerset to defend this total in a Twitter poll at the half-way stage.
Daniel Bell-Drummond and Joe Denly stepped out to open for the home side. Jamie Overton took the first over.
- The first went for 6 runs, Groenewald bowled the 2nd which went for 7 so Kent were 13-0 off 2 overs. No drama then!
- Yasir Arafat bowled the 3rd and the fireworks started. Bell-Drummond smashed our specialist death bowler for 22 runs, including 4 fours and a big six.
- Groeners again bowled well restricting Kent to 6 runs in the 4th but then Denly took a liking to young Jove, hitting him for 2 sixes in the 5th. Kent were 56-0 off 5 overs.
VDM went for 12 in the 6th and Allenby for 11 in the 7th so Kent were 79-0 and looking well placed scoring at 11.38.
- Maxy Waller slowed things with only 5 coming from his 1st over, a single off the last ball taking Bell-Drummond to 50. But Yasir suffered more pain going for another 13 runs in the next and it was most worrying that our most senior bowler was getting some stick.
- Even the reliable Max was now getting hit about with his 2nd over going for 15. Kent were 112-0 off 10 overs. Somerset needed wickets and fast but were dropping catches instead, and easy ones at that!
- Denly then passed his own 50 in the 11th when he smashed Jove for 15 including 2 fours and 1 six. The 12th over, bowled by VDM, then went for 12 runs with Kent 142-0 off 12.
- The first 3 balls of Groeners next over to Denly went 6-4-W, and the breakthrough was finally made. Denly c Leask b Groenewald 75 in only 38 balls including 5×4 & 6×6 at rate of an incredible 197.36. Kent 150-1 off 12.3. Captain Sam Northeast joined Bell Drummond who was well set on 73* at this stage.
- Arafat’s pain continued as Northeast smashed him for 13 in 15th His 3 overs had gone for 48 runs! Allenby offered slight respite with 6 only scored in the 16th but Kent were 186-1 needing 13 runs off 24 balls. Somerset fans were calling for a miracle.
- Northeast was out c Groenewald b van der Merwe 27 after 16.2 overs after just 14 balls. His 3×4 & 1×6 were scored at nearly 2 a ball!
- It was all over 7 balls later when Stevens hit Maxy for four and Kent were 200-2 with a whopping 16 balls in reserve. Bell-Drummond was deservedly named Man of the Match for his unbeaten 83 and Stevens was 12*.
- Somerset’s bowlers has taken some stick – if runs conceded were ciders drunk there would be some very sore heads the morning after!
- Kent had won by 8 wickets and gained 2 points.
- It was painful stuff for Somerset fans to take with many voicing their dissatisfaction on social media platforms.
- Next up for Somerset is Specsavers CC1 games at Middlesex (from 22nd) and home to Surrey (from 28th). The next game in this format is away to Sussex in a televised game so let’s hope for a better showing, especially in the field.