Somerset play host to Kent in the first of two games in two days in the NatWest t20 Blast knowing that a win is vital to re-invigorate their campaign.
They play a side that has beaten them in their last five clashes and it was this fixture last season that Sam Northeast struck an excellent century to lead his team to a fine 2-run win despite the heroics of Chris Gayle who scored that memorable 151 not out.
Somerset know this Kent side only too well and will need to be on the top of their game. The cider county started their 2016 t20 campaign at Canterbury in a game the hosts won by 8 wickets with Daniel Bell-Drummond hitting a man of the match 83 not out. The teams went head-to-head in the Royal London One Day Cup in June and Kent were again victors by a whopping 95 runs in a rain affected game.
Both teams have won three games this season and Somerset head into the game in 7th place with 7 points, one place and one point higher than the visitors.
Somerset have named a 14-man squad for the game: Jim Allenby (c), Johann Myburgh, Peter Trego, Mahela Jayawardene, Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe, Michael Leask, Ryan Davies (wk), Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Max Waller, Tim Groenewald, Paul van Meekeren, Josh Davey.
Talking to the official site Matt Maynard hinting at slight changes to the team that lost in disappointing fashion to Gloucestershire last time out saying: “There won’t be wholesale changes in personnel in the make up of the side, but we may just re-structure slightly. A slight change here and there could have a dramatic effect so we are not going to tinker with things too much. We are not getting the best out of all the individuals and that is what we need to have a look at.”
New signing Paul van Meekeren may be handed a debut in this format to add some variation to the attack but the team have only Mahela Jayawardene as a specialist batsman with James Hildreth not in the final 14.
Umpires: Richard Kettleborough & Tim Robinson
ESPN Cricinfo scorecard
Kent won the toss and elected to bat.
- Good start for Somerset with Merv’s first over going for just 3 runs. Gregory was also tidy going for just 7 so Kent were 10-0 off 2.
- Jamie Overton bowled the third and it went for 17 runs, not helped by 2 wides and 3 no-balls.
- First Somerset success came with the first ball of the 4th when Gregory had Latham caught by skipper Allenby for 12. Kent 26-1.
- Merv’s continued to bowl tidily and his second went for 8, with 6 coming off one Denly blow. 43-1 off 5 now.
- Sam Northeast is a fine player and he made light work of Tim Groenewald whose first four deliveries went for 4. These 16 runs meant the powerplay ended 59-1.
- Spin slowed things up with Maxi’s first over going for just 3 and Merv’s came back conceding just 8. 72-1 off 8 and a tough one to call at this stage.
- Then Maxi took some stick going for 3x4s before he caught & bowled Denly for 35. 85-2 off 9.
- Allenby bowled himself and the half-way stage it was 94-2 and 200 looked a great possibility with Northeast set on 40*.
- Overton was not having fun going for 13 in his second in an over where Nprtheast passed 50. Timmy G also continued to get some tap with 11 off his second. He did, however, get Billings for 14 off the last ball to leave Kent 127-3. Jove and Groeners 4 overs had cost 57 runs at this stage.
- Merv finished his spell with his 4 overs costing just 28 runs – good stuff. Waller’s last went for 9 so it was 147-3 with 5 to go. Northease set on 69*.
- Northeast finally succumbed in the 17th when he was c Allenby b Overton 75. Kent 158-4.
- The misery continued for Groeners with another over going expensively for 13 but Jove finished well with his last going for just 4. His full quota was 1-39.
- There was one wicket in the last When Gregory got Stevens for 12 caught by the impressive Merv.
- Kent closed on 186-5 with Blake 26*
- Between them Jove and Groeners 7 overs went for 79 runs (11.3) and the other 13 for 107 (8.2).
- Mahela opened with Myburgh and it was slow stuff with 9-0 off 2.
- Half way through the third Kent struck with Myburgh c Northeast b Rabada 12. Somerset 14-1
- It got worse in the 4th when Mahel went too c Blake b Stevens 2. 14-2 now and already looking ominous for Somerset.
- Allenby got off the mark with a 4 after being joined by Tregs. 22-1 off 4.
- The Tregs started to enjoy himself hitting Claydon for 4-4-6 in the 5th before striking Griffiths for 6-4-1-6 in 2 balls in the 6th! 59-2 off 6 now.
- He continued the assault with 2x4s off Cowdrey and the runs with 20 more coming off the next 2 overs. At the half way stage Somerset were 89-2 with Trego 49* and Allenby 20*. 98 runs were required from 60 balls.
- Tregs passed his 50 in the 11th over but one ball later Allenby was out – b Cowdrey 20 and it was now 91-3. Leask enters the game.
- Tregs now went after former England man Tredwell in the 12th hitting him for 12 while Leask got off the mark. Those 13 runs took Somerset to 101-3 so 87 runs were required from 48 balls.
- Things took a twist in the 13th over when Tregs went c Latham b Cowdrey 63. His 35 minute innings comprised of 34 balls including 8×4 & 3×6. Well batted sir! Now someone needs to take charge and see Somerset home. 106-4.
- Gregs joined Leask and after 13 overs Somerset were 112-4 needing 76 runs from 42 balls. Game on!
- Gregory hit two consecutive 4s off Stevens but in the 14th Leask was run out for 10 and Somerset were 129-5 wit wickets falling.
- First ball of the 16th and Gregory had gone bowled by Stevens 17. Kent had gained the upperhand with the home team 132-6 needing 56 runs from 29 balls. On the last ball of the same over Jamie Overton had been and gone for 4. He too was bowled Stevens for just 4. Somerset throwig this game away. 136-7. 52 runs required from 24 balls – a tall order!
- Davies got off the mark with the same delivery that ran him out and he was gone for 1. Somerset had slumped from 101-2 to 137-8.
- After 17 Somerset 140-8 and required another 48 runs off 18 balls. That’s 16 per over!!
- The game was pretty much over after 17.3 when Groeners was out b Griffiths 2. 144-9.
- At least van der Merwe tried hitting Claydon for 6 & 4 with the last 2 balls of the 19th but that left Somerset 157-9 with 31 runs required from 6 balls.
- Fair play to Waller and Merv as the last two overs went for 26 runs but the innings ended 175-9 off 20 overs. Very poor from Somerset.
Kent (2 points) beat Somerset (0) by 12 runs.
This is a sixth consecutive win for Kent against the cider county in the past 2 seasons who they leapfrog in the table. Most of the supporters in the ground and on social media were disappointed more with the way the game was lost rather than just the result. But with a game coming up the night after the players had a perfect platform to put things right, will they take that chance?