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Somerset maintain 100% start to Vitality Blast

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Somerset maintained their perfect start to the 2022 Vitality Blast thanks to a four-wicket victory over Hampshire Hawks in a repeat of last year’s semi-final at the Ageas Bowl tonight.

Whilst not as dramatic as that day at Edgbaston last summer, it was another important win for Somerset who made it three in a row in the 2022 tournament and now top the group.

Josh Davey claimed three wickets for the second day in a row as the Hawks were bowled out for 123.

Tom Banton, Will Smeed and Rilee Rossouw all reached 20s, but a slip to 89 for five gave a moment of jitters before Tom Lammonby collected a classy 33 to steady the ship as Somerset got over the line with 25 balls to spare.

Runners-up last year Somerset have disposed of holders Kent Spitfires, 2019 winners Essex Eagles and now the Hawks to sit level on points with Middlesex at the top of the South Group. Hampshire are bottom with two home losses in two.

Somerset had the Hawks 38 for three in the powerplay, having been stuck in. Aneurin Donald, Ben McDermott and Joe Weatherley all went aerial to their demise. James Vince then perished in the seventh over advancing and skying to further condemn the home side.

The visiting bowlers were once again in fine form and although Davey was the pick of the attack, Lewis Gregory’s two for eight and Marchant de Lange’s two for 20 were key to restricting the hosts. Ben Green also worked hard in the middle overs for his two for 19.

They were helped by some excellent catching, not least Tom Lammonby and Smeed’s relay catch to dismiss Chris Wood.

James Fuller was the only batter to show resistance as he powered 42 from 28 balls, but no other Hampshire player reached 20.

Smeed and Banton added further misery to the hosts by proving the potential high scoring nature with 46 coming for the first wicket. Both fell in successive overs, carving to cover and nicking off respectively.

Australian recruit Nathan Ellis endured a horror first over, which saw two no balls, a huge Smeed six and 17 runs.

Rossouw returned to the Ageas Bowl, where he spent three seasons, to strike a six off his legs. He, Tom Abell and Gregory all fell within 12 balls of each other to give the Hawks hope.

However, Lammonby then struck 33 to ease those worries and despite edging Ellis behind with two runs to win, Somerset quickly reached the target.

At the end of the game, Somerset Bowling Coach, Steve Kirby said: “I thought it was an all-round team performance. We have been trying to get better and better with each performance. We tell them to go out and express themselves, especially the bowling attack. We are bowling very effectively in the powerplay and we are getting better at the death.

“When you look at the dimensions of the ground here you have to get your angles right and Paul Tweddle does a really good job at making sure we are right on point with that. To restrict Hampshire to 123 on their home ground showed how well we bowled.

“As a team we are really pleased, so onwards and upwards. We have got a real presence out there, it reminds me of the days of Trescothick, Kieswetter, Buttler and Trego. We are not resting on our laurels though.

“The bowling performances are nothing to do with me, it is a full coaching group. We have told them to be instinctive and got them to practice, practice, practice. We are getting in and out of overs really well.”

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