Somerset heading for the final!

An outstanding team performance saw Somerset come out on top in this Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

Every player played their part as Somerset swept aside their hosts to reach the final at Lord’s courtesy of a victory by 115 runs.

Under a beautiful blue Nottinghamshire sky, Steven Mullaney won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first on what appeared to be a good pitch.

Somerset openers Azhar Ali and Tom Banton looked to build a solid foundation and the pair kept the scoreboard ticking over with pushes to the boundary as they brought up the 50 partnership in the 10th over.

Banton it was who took Somerset to 50 with a six off Matthew Carter from the first ball of the 10th over. He then repeated the feat twice more whilst the final ball was beautifully reverse swept for four in an over that produced 24 runs for the visitors.

In the next over the 20-year-old reached his third 50 in as many matches from 44 balls, but fell for 59 when a faint edge carried through to Tom Moores behind the stumps courtesy of the returning Harry Gurney.

At 93 for one after 14 overs, Peter Trego arrived at the crease and Somerset soon reached the 100 mark in the 17th over as the veteran all-rounder hit Samit Patel, who now holds the record for the most consecutive List A appearances, to the ropes.

Azhar Ali moved to a run-a-ball 50 in the 21st over, at the end of which Somerset had moved to 133 for one. The Pakistan batsman seemed well set to play the anchor role for the Somerset innings, but on 72 he was bowled by Jake Ball to put the visitors on 183 for two.

Ball struck again with the final ball of the over when an impressive caught and bowled accounted for James Hildreth who had to depart for one at 185 three.

When he hit Mullaney for four in the 30th over, Trego became the third Somerset batsman to reach his half century, from 48 balls.

In the 35th over Luke Fletcher banged in a short delivery which Tom Abell (18) attempted to lift over the ‘keeper. Unfortunately, the Somerset skipper got the faintest of edges which was taken by Moores at 227 for four.

Just one run had been added to the total when George Bartlett was bowled by Mullaney without scoring. It was the Notts skipper’s 100th List A wicket.

Having already made three half centuries in the competition already, Lewis Gregory arrived at the crease and made his intentions clear by depositing Mullaney in to the upper section of the Radcliffe Road stand for a huge maximum.

Frustratingly for Somerset, Trego’s fine innings was brought to a conclusion when he was run out by Mullaney for 73, his runs coming of 72 balls.

Ball then claimed two wickets in an over for the second time in the match as Gregory (37) and Roelof van der Merwe (11) fell in the 45th, by the end of which Somerset were 290 for eight.

A 47-run partnership between the Overton twins gave the innings some late impetus but the visitors were eventually all out for 337 all out from their allotted overs.

Ball was the pick of the bowlers, claiming four for 62 from his ten overs.

The Notts openers made a solid start and the score had reached 38 when Craig Overton made the breakthrough with the first ball of the seventh over. Joe Clarke was the man to go, caught at short mid-wicket by Azhar Ali for 14. That brought Alex Hales to the crease and he received a positive response from the majority of the 5000-plus gathered at Trent Bridge today.

Ben Slater went to his fourth 50 of the competition from 52 balls from the last delivery of the 15th over as the hosts reached 95 for one. However, his celebrations were short lived as he fell for 58 to a brilliant diving catch from van der Merwe from the bowling of Jamie Overton with Notts at 110 for two.

Hales, a controversial figure of late, seemed to have put his off-field issues behind him as he reached his half century from 42 balls and again received a warm ovation from the stands. However, the joy of the home supporters once again didn’t last long as the very next ball saw Ben Duckett caught on the boundary by Craig Overton off the bowling of van der Merwe for one to leave Notts Outlaws on 125 for three.

Hales too was soon back in the pavilion for 54. The 30-year-old attempted to square cut Craig Overton but the ball found the edge and Banton gleefully took the catch with Notts on 131 for four.

That soon became 135 for five when Samit Patel was trapped lbw by van der Merwe for three. When Moores was caught by Jamie Overton at long on to give van der Merwe another wicket the home side were 156 for six at the end of the 29th over.

Notts had reached 186 when Mullaney (29) was the next man to go, bowled by Josh Davey and when Matthew Carter was caught in the deep by George Bartlett off Azhar Ali the home side were staring down the barrel at 197 for eight.

Davey then removed Ball courtesy of a catch from Abell and when Fletcher’s late resistance finally fell, Somerset had achieved a comprehensive victory and set up a Lord’s final for the first time since 2011.

Van der Merwe finished with three for 29 whilst there were two wickets each for Craig Overton and Davey.

A delighted Tom Abell said afterwards: “It means everything to lead the side through to a Lord’s final. It will be such a special day, obviously with it being the last final at Lord’s and it’s been a while since we were there. I’m just so proud of the team, the squad and the coaching staff. I feel we are peaking at the right time and probably peaked in the quarter-final and semi-final, which is great with Lord’s in mind.

“We got off to a fantastic start today, Bants (Tom Banton) got us off to a good start and he was well supported by Azhar (Ali) and Tregs (Peter Trego), so we felt it was a really good score. I thought we struggled to get momentum in the back end of ur innings and they bowled well at the death but I thought we were good in all three disciplines.

“It was obviously a big moment in the game once Hales got out but there were still Moores and Mullaney to come at that stage but we were desperate to make sure they didn’t come back into the game after then.”

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