It was a very windy Hove that greeted the Somerset players for their second NatWest T20 Blast match of the season. The team looking to start a winning run in this competition after a poor first game at Canterbury where they were always second best to Kent.
Somerset were boosted by the arrival of two additional players following the Kent game with Mahela Jayawardene handed his debut and there was a welcome return for the “Universe Boss” – Chris Gayle.
Somerset team: Jim Allenby (c), Yasir Arafat, Ryan Davies (wk), Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Jamie Overton, Mahela Jayawardene, Chris Gayle, Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe, Max Waller.
Sussex Sharks: Nash, Wright (c), Brown (wk), Taylor, Machan, Jordan, Wiese, Beer, Shahzad, Briggs, Mills. This a useful looking side so it was never going to be an easy game for Somerset.
Umpires: Martin Saggers and Bily Taylor
ESPN Cricinfo scorecard here
Somerset captain Jim Allenby won the toss and elected to bowl first.
- Chris Nash and Luke Wright opened for Sussex and Jamie Overton bowled the first over and was dispatched for 11 with both batters hitting a four.
- Nash had some early luck as was dropped on nought off the second ball of the match by James Hildreth at backward point and again in the fifth over by Jayawardene, having scored 17.
- Apart from that they looked in control from the off. Roleof van der Merwe’s first over went for 8 before Lewis Gregory bowled the third which cost just 1 run. 20-0 after 3. This is when the carnage started.
- Allenby (15) and Overton (14) were both knocked about freely and Sussex were 66-0 at the powerplay.
- Max Waller slowed things up a tad with only 6 from his first. But the batsmen were simply warming up and Nash dispatched Lewis for two sixes in the ninth over, the second of those taking him to 50. Waller bowled the 10th and at the halfway stage Sussex were well placed at 99-0 with Wright 40 & Nash 54.
- Yasir Arafat had a torrid time at Kent with his 3 overs costing 48 runs and his first went for 17 runs, 16 from the bat. Allenby went for 16 in the next and van der Merwe then had the most expensive over in the Sussex innings when he went for 20. After 13 overs Sussex were 152-0.
- There was finally some success for Somerset when Wright was bowled Waller for 83 and one over later his replacement, Ross Taylor, was bowled by Overton for 1. Sussex now 162-2.
- Nash carried on and in the 19th over he smashed Overton for 1 six and 2 fours, the first of which took him to three figures. But the bowler did manage to get Matt Machan c Davies for 12. Sussex 212-3.
- The last over went for 10 so Sussex finished on 222-3 with Nash unbeaten on 112 having scored 13×4 and 3×6. Jordan was the other not out batsman.
- It was sorry stuff from Somerset who simply bowled too short throughout and did not address the obvious. Only Lewis and Max had an economy rate in single figures.
- Allenby and Gayle opened the Somerset innings in what was always going to be a tough ask. This was made even tougher when Allenby was bowled second ball – the first legit delivery – without scoring. 1-1
- It all got even worse when Gayle was out bowled by the lively Mills for 5 the ball after he had edged him over the slips. It was disappointing from the Universe Boss and Somerset already looked buried at 7-2.
- Jayawardene stepped and showed his class in the third when he slammed Shahzad for 4-4-6 with the first three deliveries. In the 5th over he hit another maximum – this time off Wiese – but two balls later he lost his partner, Peter Trego, for just 3 runs. Somerset 36-3.
- At the end of the powerplay the visitors were a disappointing 48-3. Before the 50 was negotiated Hildreth was next man out when he stepped across his wicket and was bowled by Wiese. 49-4. Someone needed to support Jayawardene.
- The Sri Lankan smashed Jordan to record his third six before Lewis Gregory got into the act hitting Beer for one too. Jayawardene passed 50 in the penultimate ball of the over. At the halfway stage Somerset were 79-4.
- But the game looked pretty much over as a contest four balls into the second half when Jordan bowled Jayawardene for 51 (4×4 3×6). 82-5 now with 11 to go.
- The wickets kept falling. Briggs snared Lewis lbw for a useful 22 (91-6 after 11.5) then the next over Davies was c Jordan b Wiese 0and we were 93-7 after 12.4.
- In the next few overs van der Merwe and Overton tried to hit the team back into the game with VDM hitting both Wise and Shahzad into the stands. The 15th over went for 17 but Somerset still needed 100 to win from just 5 overs. Soon after Overton was out c Jordan b Briggs 10. 129-8 and the game was just being played out now.
- VDM continued to impress. He hit Wiese for another six before Yasir Arafat was out first ball c Machan b Wiese 0. 138-9.
- In the 19th VDM hit Beer for two sixes, the first one taking him past 50. But it would be the Holland international who would be last man out after 19.4 overs c Taylor b Mills 59 (3×4 5×6). Somerset were 174 all out so lost by 48 runs and, in truth, were second best all over the park.
Sussex beat Somerset by 48 runs.
After the game Chris Gayle was honest saying he must get used to English conditions after his short innings. He said to the BBC: “”I need to keep warm and then get acclimatised as quickly as possible – I expect this weather so it’s no excuse. I came in on Tuesday, played the next day and the weather was a bit nippy as well.”
He added: “”It’s not like the start I got last time, when I played my first game, but these things do happen. Hopefully I can contribute to the next game, and it’s a home game so I’m looking forward to actually being there.
“Hopefully I’ll have a few days I can hit a few balls in the river, so I’m looking forward to that definitely.”