‘We need the points’ says Jim ahead of Friday’s T20
The County Ground is bracing itself for some more Gayle force hitting on Friday evening when Somerset host Hampshire in the Nat West T20 Blast, which starts at 5.30pm.
On Sunday the ‘world boss’ wowed the packed crowd with a breathtaking innings of 151 not out, the third highest in English domestic T20 and a new Somerset record, which included 10 fours and 15 sixes most of which cleared the boundary by a country mile.
Home fans want more of the same on Friday, but hopefully the big man’s antics with the bat will result in a Somerset victory.
Hampshire currently occupy second place in the South Division with 6 points from their four games, while the hosts are seventh with 2 points from the same number of matches played.
After Thursday morning’s training session Jim Allenby said: “ Chris’ innings was the best I have seen live in any form of the game by miles and it deserved a win so to be on the losing side after that performance was disappointing for all of us.
“We are going to need to lift our game a bit for the game against Hampshire and need to pick up points through the whole tournament. It is a long tournament but you need to make sure that you stay in it coming into the last few games to be in with a shout of making the quarter finals.
“There will be a full house which is great and we have Chris Gayle and we hope he comes off again, but we do have a job to do which is picking up points so its not just about entertaining which of course is important but we do need the points.”
Jim added: “Hampshire are going to be a tough team to beat and well drilled so we are going to have to play at our best to win.”
Looking ahead to Friday’s showdown with the always dangerous Hampshire, James Hildreth who hit 29 out of a partnership of 113 runs in 9 overs with Gayle against Kent said: “I felt like I was getting whiplash at one point batting with him because I had to keep turning my head so quick as the ball flew back past me, which was brilliant.
“There are only a few guys in the world who are just a cut above the rest and Chris is one of those and its great to play in the same side with him and learn as much as you can. We are very different in the way that we go about our knocks in T20 but it was great to be out in the middle with him.
Hildy went on: “Of course we want to see Chris Gayle scoring hundreds but at the end of the day we want to win matches and ultimately competitions so we need to help him out.
“We talked and had meetings as a batting unit about ways that we can keep him going but also play a role ourselves at the other end and that’s going to be important.”
He added: “Obviously we also need to bowl better ourselves because if we want to win games that is what we have got to do.”
Somerset’s second overseas player is Sohail Tanveer who said: “It was a good game against Kent on Sunday but unluckily we couldn’t finish it off again. However it was very close so there are lots of positives for us.
“We need to win and we are working on it as a batting and bowling unit and we need to do well up front in the power plays.
“Chris Gayle is playing well and as a batting unit when you are chasing 230 and you score 225 it gives you a lot of positives for the next game so we have the momentum.”
“ I am very hopeful that against Hampshire we will minimize the mistakes we made against Kent and real bonus of course is that the big man Chris Gayle is in our side. He got 90 at Essex and 150 on the weekend so this is a positive sign and we are hoping his form will continue and the rest of our batsmen will do their bit and help us to cross the line.”
Sohail played for Hampshire a couple of years ago about which he said: “I played for them back in 2013 so it will be good to play against them now. Now Somerset is my team and I want to help them win it. “
Talking about Friday’s encounter with Hampshire Pete Trego said: “Chris is going well for us, but the rest of us need to come to the party as well. We are very focused on what we need to do as well, to bat around, to bat with and complement Chris at the other.
“All of our games have gone down to the last ball which is a good sign and they are great games for the crowd but obviously its very important now that we get over the line after losing two of the tight finishes.”
Somerset will select their line up from the following squad: “Alfonso Thomas (capt), Jim Allenby, Tom Cooper, Chris Gayle, Lewis Gregory, Tom Groenewald, James Hildreth, Johann Myburgh, Jamie Overton, Sohail Tanveer, Marcus Trescothick , Pete Trego and Max Waller.