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Lewis inspires Somerset to victory over Hampshire

Somerset moved into third place in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group with a 14-run victory over Hampshire in front of over 6,000 supporters at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Opener Lewis Gregory led the way after the hosts had won the toss, smacking 43 off 20 balls with nine fours, in a total of 204 for nine. Jim Allenby contributed 37 while Gareth Berg claimed three for 35.

In reply, Hampshire were bowled out for 190, Lewis McManus top-scoring with 34. Tim Groenewald was the pick of the home attack with two for 28 from his four overs.

Somerset made a whirlwind start to their innings thanks to some sweet timing from openers Gregory and Steve Davies and some woeful Hampshire bowling that saw the second over from Kyle Abbott feature two over-stepping no-balls at a cost of 25.

By the end of the fourth over Gregory and Davies had taken the score to 61.

It was a relief for Hampshire when James Vince produced a good catch above his head at mid-on to dismiss Davies for 32, made from just 13 balls, Shahid Afridi the successful bowler.

Man-of-the-match Gregory holed out to deep mid-wicket off Berg, having looked in prime form and by the end of the six-over power-play Somerset had raced to 83 for two.

Allenby took time to play himself in before producing some cracking shots. Peter Trego fell cheaply, but James Hildreth ensured there was no let-up for the bowlers with a breezy 25 off 18 deliveries.

Allenby drove a catch to extra cover off Berg, but Michael Leask hit Wheal for six and two more maximums in the same over by Roelof van der Merwe, including a ramp shot, had Somerset on course for 220.

But the 18th over saw van der Merwe run out and Abbott strike twice to dismiss Leask and Groenewald, forcing last pair Craig Overton and Max Waller to exercise caution.

Hampshire replied positively despite losing Rilee Rossouw to only the eighth ball of their innings, bowled by Overton.

Vince cracked 33 off 15 balls, with seven fours, before being bowled by a full ball from Gregory. But George Bailey quickly followed, a victim for Groenewald, who put an early brake on the scoring rate.

Carberry was dropped on two by Hildreth at short fine-leg off Overton as Hampshire ended the powerplay on 51 for three. He and Sean Ervine added 49 in good time before the latter was bowled by van der Merwe for 19 attempting a scoop shot.

Carberry had progressed to 30 and was looking dangerous when run out by Groenewald in a mix-up with Lewis McManus over a second run. At 93 for five in the 11th over, the visitors were in trouble.

McManus lofted successive sixes off van der Merwe in the 13th over, but the next saw Waller beat Afridi’s defensive shot and bowl him for 18.

When McManus was caught by Allenby at extra cover off a skier to give Waller his second wicket, Hampshire were left needing 53 off four overs, with only three wickets in hand.

Despite the best efforts of Berg (31 off 21 balls), they were always falling short and when he was run out the innings ended with three balls remaining.

After the game Lewis said: “I’m loving opening the innings and it’s great when I stand at the crease and look around and see everyone in the circle. When I hit it in the gaps then I know that it’s four runs.

“We’ve got off to a few good starts in the last few games and hopefully that will continue. No matter what, 200 is a good score but you still think that we left a few runs out there. When it clicks the whole way round then there will be a few big totals around for us.

“We know that it can be very hard to defend at times here but I think we have bowled brilliantly so far in this competition so I was confident at the half way stage. Then we got a few early wickets and really fielded well. The boys put in a brilliant performance in general today.”

What has been the difference this season to win the last three games? “We have had a few chats and we know that we haven’t been playing like we should,” he said. “We have had a few changes in personnel, brought in some young players and gone out and enjoyed ourselves and expressed ourselves. So far it’s paid off for us.”

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Next MatchSomerset V Surrey

03/07/2022 18:30 - The Cooper Associates County Ground