Babar impresses again as Somerset defeat Glamorgan

Babar Azam scored a classy half century as Somerset beat bottom-of-the-table Glamorgan by 25 runs at the Cooper Associates County Ground to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Vitality Blast.

Buoyed by Babar’s vibrant innings of 63 from 42 balls, Somerset raised a competitive 177 for eight in their 20 overs after losing the toss.

David Lloyd top-scored with 63, but Glamorgan proved unable to recover from the loss of early wickets and were bowled out for 152, Max Waller and Jerome Taylor claiming three for 19 and two for 31 respectively.

Somerset now occupy the fourth and final qualifying spot in the South Group, ahead of Middlesex by virtue of a superior run rate with two matches to play.

Needing to bounce back from defeat to Gloucestershire, the home side did so in fine style and once again overseas star Babar Azam was impressive. However, even he was put in the shade for a while after Glamorgan won the toss and put their hosts in on a hybrid pitch.

Having scored a brilliant maiden T20 hundred in front of the Sky cameras earlier this month, Tom Banton again demonstrated his credentials, smashing 34 from 21 balls and matching Babar blow-for-blow in an entertaining opening stand of 61 in 5.4 overs.

His murderous progress was halted against all odds by T20 debutant Roman Walker, who with his fourth ball, induced Somerset’s aggressor-in-chief to hole out to deep square leg.

Taking pace off the ball brought Glamorgan back into the game as the next six overs yielded just 28 runs. Unable to break loose against spinners Andrew Salter and Callum Taylor, James Hildreth contributed 22 to a second wicket stand of 41 before being run out by Colin Ingram’s direct hit from mid-off with the score on 107.

Becalmed for a time, Babar Azam went to 50 from 36 balls and then registered the first six of the innings, straight-hitting Ruaidri Smith into the Sir Ian Botham Stand to afford the hosts renewed impetus. The Pakistan international passed 500 runs for the tournament and 4,000 career T20 runs in an innings characterised by wristy elegance and clever innovation.

Attempting to add to his tally of seven fours and a six, he eventually perished in the 16th over, hoisting Salter high to Nicholas Selman at deep square leg.

Tom Abell was caught at deep cover off the bowling of Smith for 20 in the next over, Craig Overton came and went whilst Tom Lammonby and Roelof van der Merwe were both bowled by Marchant de Lange at the end of the innings.

Eddie Byrom’s breezy 14-ball cameo yielded 20 runs before he too was bowled by de Lange, who finished with three for 36 from four overs.

Required to score at nine an over to engineer a first win in the South Group, Glamorgan’s woes with the bat continued as their top-order imploded in the face of express pace from Jerome Taylor.

Shaun Marsh edged the West Indies paceman to slip, while talisman Colin Ingram was superbly run out by Abell’s pick-up-and-throw from short mid-wicket in pursuit of a notional single, a lapse in judgment which saw the visitors lurch to six for two.

Struck a blow on the helmet by a throw at the stumps as he dived to make his ground, Selman recovered sufficiently to score 20 in a third-wicket stand of 45 with David Lloyd before driving van der Merwe to long on.

Leg spinner Waller then struck twice in quick succession, foxing Chris Cooke with his wrong ‘un and bowling Callum Taylor, while Jerome Taylor returned to account for Dan Douthwaite as Glamorgan subsided to 64 for six at halfway.

Only Lloyd offered meaningful resistance, bringing up a 31-ball 50 with a six over long-on. When he was caught in the deep off the bowling of Lammonby, the game was effectively up.

At the end of the match Somerset Captain, Tom Abell said: “I think the game was won when we started so well with the new ball. We were disappointed with that score, which was a bit below par, but when we took those early wickets up top, we knew we were in control of the game. Max Waller bowled really well during the middle overs and Jerome Taylor’s pace made things happen for us.

“Tom Banton is a special talent, Babar Azam is one of the best batsmen in the world and we are lucky to have them. You need a couple of players to get you off to a really good start and we have that in those two. They gave us a great platform again tonight and that allowed those of us who followed the freedom to play our shots.

“We’re in a good position in the group with two games to go and our fate is in our own hands. We have two games to go against Surrey and Middlesex and, if we win them both, we will make the quarter-finals. It helps that we know what we have to do.”

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground