Their final attempt at qualification begins with a clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval tonight (starting at 6.30pm) when Somerset are due to hand the in-form Jack Leach his T20 debut in place of Abdur Rehman, who has struggled in all forms of the game so far this summer.
With Max Waller and Johann Myburgh also in the squad, Somerset could go into the game with three spinners, depending on the nature of the wicket. Craig Overton also returns to the squad after recovering from the blow on the head he received while batting in the LV=County Championship match with Sussex.
Somerset’s plans to improve their showing in the powerplay overs were only partially successful at Canterbury last week and they were never really in contention as Kent won comfortably by 22 runs. The margin of defeat would have been much higher had Rehman not hit 3 sixes and 2 fours in the final over.
Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard is well aware of what is required this evening and said: “We can still make it to the quarter finals but we need to win all three of our remaining matches which will take us onto 15 points. To do this we need to play better cricket. We were not really there against Kent and we need to improve vastly upon that performance.”
Ahead of the match Trego said: “It’s a very exciting prospect to be playing at Surrey on a great ground, which hasn’t been overly kind to us in the past, but I think there is ultimate clarity now in what we have to do. We have to win the rest of our games to qualify and that is the mathematical equation that we are dealing with, so we can go out there with no fear and give it our best shot to try and get into the quarter finals.
“We have lost a few close games and Duckworth/Lewis has come into play a couple of times but I don’t think we have hit our straps and been where we should be as a unit, so we are pretty disappointed. However we are still in the hunt and will give it our best shot for the last three games”
Waller said: “This is a must win game for us with just three matches remaining before the start of the knock-out stages so hopefully we can hit a run of form and win them all, which is what we need to do. We haven’t enjoyed the best of luck at the Oval so hopefully we can turn it around on Friday.”
Regarding the squad for Friday’s match Maynard said: “Jack Leach, who has done well for the Seconds this week, comes into the squad as does Craig Overton and we will pick our best team depending on the wicket at the Oval.”
When the two sides met at the County Ground on June 12 the rain won the day and the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled, while last year at the Kia Oval it was the hosts who triumphed by three wickets in a low-scoring game.
Speaking about his return from injury, Craig Overton said: “It’s never a nice thing to be out injured but it hasn’t been for very long and I hope be back in action over the weekend.”
Talking about his injury the 21 year old said: “Straight after I got hit I carried on batting and I felt alright. However I then came off and after lunch I started bowling and felt tired so they told me to go off the field, which was probably the wisest decision at the time. After several days off I had a few nets on the machines which all went well and I also did some outdoor nets too, so I will definitely be ready for the weekend if selected.”
Craig added: “It has been a bit of an interruption for me but not too bad because I was going to have a week off shortly so it came a week early!”
The Somerset squad is: Jim Allenby, Johann Myburgh, Peter Trego, James Hildreth, Tom Cooper, Luke Ronchi (wk), Tim Groenewald, Max Waller, Lewis Gregory, Jamie Overton, Craig Overton, Jack Leach and Alfonso Thomas (captain).