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Somerset reach Finals Day on a record breaking night

Records fell throughout a truly sensational night at the Cooper Associates County Ground as Somerset advanced to Finals Day following a crushing victory over Derbyshire Falcons in a quarter-final which will live long in the memory.

The hosts posted their highest ever total in T20 cricket, surpassing the previous best of 250 for three against Gloucestershire in 2006, when they finished on an astonishing 265 for five.

It was also the highest T20 total in English domestic men’s cricket.

In reply, the visitors capitulated to 74 all out as Somerset won by 191 runs.

Rilee Rossouw led the way with 93 off 36 balls, with seven sixes and eight fours, becoming Somerset’s most prolific scorer in a T20 season with 600 at an average of 50, with a strike rate of 197.36.

Tom Banton weighed in with 73 from 41 deliveries, while Tom Lammonby laced 31 from nine as the Falcons bowlers, with the notable exception of George Scrimshaw (two for 16), were put to the sword.

Leg-spinner Mattie McKiernan went for 82 in his four overs, the most expensive figures in men’s T20 cricket history, including 36 off one, which saw Rossouw crack five sixes and a four.

In reply, the shellshocked visitors crashed to 74 all out, giving Somerset the biggest margin of victory in the shortest format of the game in this country.

There was little sign of the carnage to come when the Falcons won the toss and Scrimshaw bowled the first over from the River End at a cost of only four runs.

But by the end of the six-over powerplay, Somerset had posted 55, Will Smeed falling for 18 and Banton going well.

There was a big moment in the seventh over, sent down by Mark Watt, when Banton, on 29, was badly dropped at backward point by Ben Aitchison.

It was a mistake the Falcons could ill-afford on a true batting pitch in unbroken sunshine. Rossouw was soon into his stride as he and Banton took 19 off the tenth over, bowled by Luis Reece, and 21 off the 12th, sent down by McKiernan.

Banton went to a 33-ball fifty and Rossouw followed him to the same landmark off 24 deliveries in a partnership that added 102 in 8.2 overs.

It ended when Banton, who had just lofted Hughes for successive sixes, was caught at long-off, having cleared the ropes six times and struck 4 fours.

Rossouw then hit McKiernan for 6,6,4,6,6,6 in the 15th over, a sequence only interrupted by a no-ball off the fourth delivery.

Even when the South African was caught at deep mid-wicket, there was no respite for Derbyshire, as Lammonby struck Aitchison for 4,4,6,4,6 in the 18th over.

Somerset went past the previous T20 record score in England, 261 for two by the Birmingham Bears against Nottinghamshire last month, with Ben Green’s two sixes off the third and fourth balls of the final over.

The hosts scored 185 off the last 11 overs of their innings. But Scrimshaw could hold his head high, bowling four testing overs out of all context with the innings.

Any miniscule doubt about the outcome disappeared when Derbyshire slumped to 42 for four after six overs.

Harry Came fell to Craig Overton before Peter Siddle sent back Reece and Leus du Plooy, with the third and fifth balls of the fourth over.

The Aussie seamer claimed a third wicket when Hilton Cartwright was caught off a mistimed pull.

It was 43 for five when Brooke Guest was bowled by Lewis Gregory and the best the Falcons could hope for was to avoid defeat by an embarrassing margin.

They couldn’t do so. Wayne Madsen, on 14, drove a catch to mid-off to give Gregory a second wicket and Green removed Alex Hughes and Watt with successive balls in the tenth over.

An embarrassing mix-up with McKiernan saw Aitchison run out. And when McKeirnan skied a catch off Green, it completed a nightmare evening for the Falcons and their supporters.

At the end of a memorable night, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “We know what we’re capable of, but when it comes together like that you’ve got to be happy. To have got that score was very pleasing.

“What pleased me most was people taking responsibility. I thought Tom Banton showed a lot of maturity and he and Will Smeed set a good platform and we went on from there. There’s so much talent in the group and I still don’t think that we’ve peaked yet.

“The bowlers have been brilliant all the way through the competition and there’s a real clarity in what we’re trying to do.

“The crowd were absolutely immense tonight. We are so fortunate because the atmosphere that they create is second to none.”

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