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Roelof leads Somerset to sensational win

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Roelof van der Merwe was the match-winner for Somerset on a remarkable evening of Vitality Blast cricket in Bristol.

The Netherlands International smashed his way to 48 from just 15 balls as the visitors recovered from a disappointing start to claim what at one point seemed like an unlikely victory in this rain-affected match by three-wickets (DLS).

Tom Abell won the toss and elected to field, but Miles Hammond claimed four sixes off the opening over of the game, bowled by Tom Lammonby, on his way to making 29 off just 12 balls. However, the hosts momentum was halted after five overs when the rain fell with the scoreboard showing Gloucestershire on 61 for one.

Play resumed at 8.45pm with the game reduced to ten overs per side.

The hosts eventually went on to post 101 for five wit h Somerset chasing a revised target of 112. Hope of a fifth win in six games for Somerset seemed all but lost as the visitors slipped to 55 for seven, but van der Merwe took the game by the scruff of the neck to see them to an unlikely victory with three balls to spare.

Hammond and James Bracey built a good foundation early on and took the score to 46 off 3.5 overs before Josh Davey made a breakthrough, having Hammond caught at short third man off an edged drive.

When rain sent the players off, James Bracey was unbeaten on 21 from 14 balls. He added only a single to his score before being caught at cover off a leading edge in the first over of the resumption, bowled by van der Merwe.

Somerset opted for spin at both ends, but Lewis Goldsworthy’s first ball was dispatched for a straight six by Cockbain. However, the Australian fell to the second, caught at deep cover to leave Gloucestershire 72 for three.

Jack Taylor hoisted Goldsworthy for another straight six. But van der Merwe completed two canny overs for 14 and when Glenn Phillips skied a catch to wicketkeeper Tom Banton off Lewis Gregory, Gloucestershire were 90 for four. Gregory’s over cost just five runs.

The final over was delivered by Ben Green, who sent back Taylor, caught at deep mid-wicket in conceding only a further six.

David Payne used conditions to good effect, having Tom Banton caught a short third-man off his second delivery in an opening over costing eight.

When Rilee Rossouw was caught in the deep attempting to pull Josh Shaw over the longer square boundary and Tom Abell cut Zak Chappell to backward point, Somerset were 15 for three in the third over.

Will Smeed skied a Shaw full toss to be caught on the leg side and Lewis Gregory drove Benny Howell to long-on where Miles Hammond took a fine diving catch.

Lammonby had quickly cleared the ropes twice, the second time with an audacious reverse scoop off Shaw, but when he tried to reverse sweep Tom Smith, he guided the ball straight to extra cover it left Somerset on 50 for six.

Smith accounted for Green in the same over but van der Merwe kept things interesting by hitting the left-arm spinner for 6,6,4, in the eighth over.

That left Somerset needing 27 off the final two overs. That became 12 from six balls when van der Merwe hit Payne for a six and a four.

Ryan Higgins, bowling for the first time in the innings, saw his first ball swept for four by van der Merwe. The second, a slower delivery was dispatched over deep square for six and the third through the off-side for four as Somerset completed a stunning fight back to claim the bragging rights and the two points.

After steering his side to a dramatic victory, van der Merwe said: “That has to be up there with my best T20 innings, particularly as it came against our arch-rivals in a match of great importance to our supporters.

“Even when the required run-rate got to 14 or 15 an over, I wasn’t that concerned because the boundary was very short on one side and it wasn’t easy for the bowlers working with a wet ball.

“At first I thought I might give Josh Davey the strike because of the the way he was timing the ball. Some deliveries stuck in the pitch, but in general the conditions caused the ball to skid on, which made batting easier.”

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