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When the World Cup came to Taunton

The eyes of the world were on Taunton this summer when Somerset County Cricket had the honour of hosting three matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup.

It was a tournament that no one will ever forget and we are proud to have been able to play a part in that.

There was a carnival atmosphere at the County Ground, Taunton and at the fan zone in the town centre.

Here we look back on those three incredible matches:

Afghanistan v New Zealand – June 8th 2019

New Zealand won the toss and chose to field.

New Zealand (2 points) beat Afghanistan by seven wickets. Player of the match: J. D. S. Neesham

Put in to bat first, Afghanistan began the innings well, and they had reached 66 before the first wicket fell. However, the second and third both fell for the same score, in fact four wickets fell in the space of twenty balls with only one four being scored within that time.

There were two lengthy stoppages for rain and, after the second, there were two more quick wickets, leaving the score at 109 for six after twenty four overs. Through all the havoc which the New Zealanders inflicted, Afghanistan managed to keep going until the forty-second over, due in the main part to Hashmatullah Shahidi, who had come in to bat at the fall of the second wicket, and who stayed there until the end of the innings, scoring 59 out of a total of 172. James Neesham and Lockie Ferguson finished with five and four wickets respectively.

New Zealand had the worst start when Martin Guptill was out first ball of the innings bringing Kane Williamson to the crease. The second wicket fell at 41 for two, but it was the third wicket pair of Williamson and Ross Taylor which set New Zealand on the road to victory as they made 89 from 108 deliveries. Williamson made 79 not out, and a win for New Zealand by seven wickets was confirmed in the thirty-third over. As a footnote, it was Aftab Alam who took all of the New Zealand wickets.

Afghanistan 172 all out (41.1 overs) Hashmatullah Shahidi 59, J. D. S. Neesham 5-31, L. H. Ferguson 4-37.

New Zealand 173-3 (32.1 overs) K. S. Williamson 79*.

Australia v Pakistan – June 12th 2019

Pakistan won the toss and chose to field.

Australia (2 points) beat Pakistan by 41 runs. Player of the match: D. A. Warner

As with many of the World Cup matches, the team winning the toss inserted the opposition, preferring to chase down the first innings’ total. Australia started the match at full throttle and it was in the twenty-first over that the first wicket fell at 146. Aaron Finch fell for 82, but man of the match David Warner continued steadily and saw two more wickets fall before he was the fourth wicket down for 107 when the score was 242. His century underpinned the whole innings and when the batsmen following were out relatively cheaply, Australia had still made 307. Mohammed Amir collected five of the Australian wickets to fall – four of them in his last three overs.

Pakistan, because of their slow start, seemed to be playing “catch-up” for most of the innings. No sooner had they reached a par score then a wicket would fall, and the process would be repeated.  At the nominal “half-way” point of 25 overs the score was 136 and Pakistan were on course to win. The opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq was still there as he had played the sheet anchor thus far, and was on 53. The other opener, Fakhar Zaman, had been out for a duck but there had been a cameo from (the soon-to-be Somerset’s) Babar Azam who made 30 from just twenty-eight balls, including seven fours. Mohammed Hafeez was still there with Imam-ul-Haq, but from the twenty-sixth over things started to fall apart. Five wickets were to fall in the space of 64 runs including Imam-ul-Haq. His replacement, Sarfraz Ahmed, was to stay there until he was the last wicket out for 40 in the forty-sixth over. Hasan Ali (32) and Wahab Riaz (45) also made notable contributions but it was not enough and Pakistan were bowled out for 266, giving a victory to Australia by 41 runs.

Australia 307 all out (49 overs) D. A. Warner 107, A. J. Finch 82, Mohammed Aamer 5-30.

Pakistan 266 all out (45.4 overs) Imam-ul-Haq 53.

West Indies v Bangladesh – June 17th 2019

Bangladesh won the toss and chose to field.

Bangladesh (2 points) beat West Indies by seven wickets. Player of the match: Shakib al Hasan

This was a game of many runs and few wickets. With a total of 643 runs scored in the day, it cannot be said that spectators did not get value for money although, with West Indies batting first, many people were sorry that Chris Gayle was out, in only the fourth over of the day, without scoring.

Wicket-keeper Shai Hope came in to replace Gayle in the middle and, together with Evin Lewis, amassed a 116 run partnership which laid the foundation for later fireworks. 22-year-old Shimron Hetmyer made a half century from 26 deliveries and captain Jason Holder came in at the fall of the third wicket and made 33 from just 15 balls, but it was Hope who was the stand out batsman, making 96, falling just short of a tenth List A century, out of the West Indies total of 321.

In contrast to the West Indies, Bangladesh made more than double the runs in the first power play overs. Tamim Iqbal with firstly Soumya Sarkar, and then latterly with Shakib al Hasan posted 121 for two within the first eighteen overs at almost seven runs per over, and only one more wicket was to fall in the pursuit. The fourth wicket partnership and, as it turned out, the final stand of 189 between Shakib al Hasan (80) and Liton Das (94) at 8.4 runs per over, took Bangladesh over the line with eight and a half overs to spare. The all round performance of an unbeaten 124 from Shakib al Hasan and his two wickets made him the player of the match.

West Indies 321-8 (50 overs) S. D. Hope 96, E. Lewis 70, S. O. Hetmyer 50.

Bangladesh 322-3 (41.3 overs) Shakib al Hasan 124*, Liton Das 94*.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

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