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Match Zone: Middlesex (A) in the NatWest t20 Blast (23 June)

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Following the narrow defeat at nearby Bristol, Somerset headed back to the capital for game 8 of 14 of their 20-over campaign to play Middlesex. There was no Chris Gayle as he was already back home so the team would need to learn to live without the great West Indian – and fast.

The forecast going into the day of the game was not encouraging and this would ultimately be a game vastly reduced following torrential rain in London.

Somerset named the following side: Allenby (capt), Myburgh, Trego, Jayawardene, Gregory, VD Merwe, C Overton, Davies (w), J Overton, Groenewald, Waller

Somerset skipper Allenby won the toss and elected to field, a good decision given the circumstances as Somerset would have the advantage of chasing with Duckworth/Lewis on their side. Play finally got under way at 8:15pm and was reduced to 9 overs per side

Umpires: Neil Bainton and Russell Evans

The match scorecard on ESPN Cricinfo here

Action unfolded

Middlesex innings

  • Groenewald bowled the first over for Somerset but was dispatched for 21 runs! Dawid Malan hit 2×6 and 1×4 to give Middlesex the perfect start.
  • But both Overtons bowled the next 2 overs and both went for 4 each only. Middlesex 29-0 off 3 which was the end of the powerplay.
  • Gregory bowled next and the very ball after McCullum smacked him for 4 the great New Zealander was out c Davies for 7. Gregs went for only 6 and it was 35-1.
  • Spin next and more success for Somerset as Max Waller snared Stirling who was caught brilliantly by Jamie Overton diving full stretch for just 1. Only 4 conceded and the Londoners were floundering on 39-2 off 5.
  • Roleof van der Merwe joined in the fun and his only over went for just 4 runs and he also bowled Franklin for 0. After 6 overs Middlesex were 43-3 and 5 overs had gone for just 22 runs.
  • From then on it was carnage! Craig Overton was dispatched for 15 runs as Simpson hit him for 1×4 and 1×6 in the over and the batsman did the same in the 8th this time to Lewis Gregory who went for 15 runs. 72-3 and Somerset needed a tight finish.
  • This didn’t happen as Malan struck 1×4 and 2×6 off Jamie Overton to pass his fifty. Middlesex finished on 92-3. The last 10 deliveries went for 32 runs to completely change the game.
  • Somerset would certainly have been happy before the game chasing around 10 per over but given the strong position this was a disappointing last 3 overs. Three full tosses finished over the line.
  • Hats off to Malan, though, who batted valiantly to lead his side to this competitive total. Game on! Middlesex 92-3

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Somerset innings

  • The chase started well. Allenby hit his first ball he faced off Finn for 6 and Myburgh hit the same bowler for 4 as the England man went for 14.
  • Allenby then hit Roland-Jones for 2×4 and it looked easy going at 23-0 off 2 overs.
  • The third over changed things. First Allenty hit Fuller for a boundary but was out next ball to a great catch by Stirling for 17. And it was 30-2 a couple of balls later when Myburgh was caught magnificently by Finn for 12. Fuller had 2-7 of his first over.
  • Somerset lost their 3rd wicket in 4 balls the very next ball bowled by Franklin. In truth it was another fabulous catch by Stirling to get Jayawardene first ball. 29-0 had become 30-3 in a few balls. A bad end to the powerplay.
  • Trego wanted runs and went looking for them. He hit Franklin for 2×4 as the score progressed to 43-3 off 4 overs. He then hit Sowter for another boundary but was bowled for 14. The 5th over ended 55-4. 38 runs required from 24 balls now.
  • Only 5 runs came from the 7th over and there was another wicket – Gregory c McCullum b Roland-Jones 10 and the visitors were 69-5. Now it was 24 runs required from 12 balls.
  • VD Merwe was trying his best: he hit a big 6 off Fuller as 11 came from the penultimate over. 13 off the last 6 balls now.
  • Jove hit 2 off the first but missed the second. He was out with the third ball c McCullum b Finn 9. 82-6 with 11 needed.
  • Finn bowled a no-ball and this gave Somerset 3 runs and a free hit so 8 were needed off 3 balls with Craig Overton facing. But only 3 runs were hit so Somerset lost by 4 runs.

Result

Result: Middlesex (2 points) beat Somerset (0) by 4 runs.

Man of the match: Dawid Malan (Middlesex)

After the game Jim Allenby told the club’s official site: “We were happy to keep them to that total and we should have chased it down. No one in our side managed to play the sort of innings that Dawid Malan played for them. Even someone getting 30 would have been good. We had our chances to win at the end but we couldn’t take them. It was a good game of cricket and the conditions were fine.”

Reaction:

It was a disappointing performance from Somerset as you have to say they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The boys bowled well after the first over went for 21 with 6.2 overs going for just 39 runs and Middlesex were 60-3 with 10 balls left. The death bowling needs a look at as too many loose deliveries, including 3 full tosses, was not going to contain a player of Malan’s quality. We probably handed them 15-20 of those runs.

The same with the bat as it all looked like it was going to plan but some great catches from the home team put the pressure on and Somerset did not get any momentum. In the end it was all a bit limp. Some say 9 overs is a lottery but isn’t 20 overs? Somerset were better placed batting second but simply did not hammer home this advantage and went missing at key times. In T20 cricket this can be 1-2 errant deliveries.

The defeat prompted much debate on Twitter and a considerable amount of anger from Somerset supporters. A win would have taken Somerset top with Glamorgan but this loss – a 4th in 8 games – leaves Somerset with 7 points in 6th position. With 6 games to go the cider county cannot afford too many slip-up’s and I would suggest 4 wins will be the minimum requirement for the team to progress to the quarter-finals. Gloucestershire at home next and no Somerset player should need firing up for that one!

T20 table 26th June

**Table updated 25th June**