Throwback Thursday: Somerset make history
Today’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to one of the most memorable T20 matches ever seen at Taunton, during which several new world records for the competition were set.
The game in question is the T20 match between Somerset and Gloucestershire that took place at the County Ground on June 27th 2006.
T20 first found its way onto the domestic calendar in 2003 and in its third season Somerset lifted the trophy at the Oval under the dynamic leadership of South African Graeme Smith.
Somerset therefore went into the 2006 competition as reigning champions and the way that the campaign began gave the fans even more to shout about.
Ian Blackwell had been appointed skipper for 2006 but in early May the big hitting all rounder sustained an injury. As a result of this a young Australian all rounder named Cameron White, who was in his first season at Taunton, took over the reins. Somerset had also secured the services of Australian veteran Justin Langer, who had stepped down from international cricket, for a short stay. For Langer this was his debut in T20 cricket, but to watch him bat you would never have thought as much.
The full Somerset side for the game was: Justin Langer, Matt Wood, Cameron White, James Hildreth, Keith Parsons, Wes Durston, Arul Suppiah, Carl Gazzard, Gareth Andrew, Richard Johnson and Charl Willoughby.
In front of a full house at the County Ground the reigning champions lost the toss and were asked to bat first.
Debutant Langer and Matt Wood gave Somerset a good start and took the total onto 52 when Wood gave a return catch to Ian Harvey and was on his way back to the pavilion for 34.
Langer was then joined by White and between them they launched an almighty onslaught on the Gloucestershire bowling. Between them the Somerset pair hit 17 fours and 13 sixes as they battered the Gloucestershire attack to all parts of the ground.
White brought up his century off 48 balls with six fours and eight sixes and along with Langer added 186 for the second wicket- a record partnership in T20, before Langer was dismissed by Harvey, his 90 runs coming off just 46 balls with 10 fours and four sixes.
Four runs later with the total on 242 Harvey claimed his third wicket in the final over when he had James Hildreth caught by Jon Lewis for four.
White and Keith Parsons eventually took Somerset onto 250 for three off their 20 overs which was a new world record for T20 cricket.
White himself remained unbeaten on 116, which equalled the then highest individual innings in T20, his runs coming off 53 balls with seven fours and nine sixes.
When the visitors replied Charl Willoughby and Richard Johnson gave Somerset the dream start as their opponents slumped to seven for two. Gloucestershire continued to lose wickets and found themselves at 56 for six before Lewis and David Brown added 54 to take the total onto 110 before Lewis was run out by ‘keeper Carl Gazzard for 43.
In the end the visitors were all out for 133 in 16.1 overs giving Somerset victory by a staggering 117 runs with 23 balls to spare.
Left arm seamer Willoughby was the pick of the bowlers and finished with figures of four for 30 from his four overs whilst Johnson sent down a miserly three overs and took one for 12.
Looking back on that match this week Keith Parsons said: “I can remember that we were very good that day and Gloucestershire were never really in the hunt when they batted. There was a big crowd in to watch us because we had won the T20 Cup the previous year and there was a great atmosphere. Justin Langer wasn’t somebody who you thought was a natural T20 player, unlike Cameron who’s game was ideally suited to the game. The pair of them just dominated proceedings as soon as they came together.”
Somerset’s total of 250 for three still remains the sixth highest domestic T20 total.