Somerset through to the quarter-finals!
Somerset clinched a place in the 2022 Vitality Blast quarter-finals after securing a two-wicket win over Middlesex at Lord’s.
Josh Davey returned to haunt his former teammates as the visitors took the two points by clinching a dramatic win in the final over of the match.
Davey took one for 25 from four frugal overs before striking Chris Green for six as the visitors won a see-saw encounter with two balls to spare.
Somerset had looked like chasing down a target of 161 with some comfort thanks to Tom Banton’s 39 and 36 for skipper Tom Abell, but Jason Behrendorf’s three for 30 and two wickets on debut for Max Harris made it tight before Davey’s last over heroics.
Earlier, Middlesex’s tally of 160 for six owed much to Chris Green’s unbeaten 44 and 41 for Luke Hollman, but it wasn’t enough to prevent their ninth defeat of the competition.
The hosts were soon in trouble after being invited to bat, Davey getting home skipper Steve Eskinazi caught at cover with only seven on the board.
Holden too perished early, caught at deep square and John Simpson missed out, skying Lewis Gregory to Will Smeed at mid-wicket.
Joe Cracknell (25) threatened briefly with two big sixes, but when he paddled Ben Green (three for 38) to short fine-leg Middlesex were 55 for four.
That Middlesex reached any sort of total was down to Hollman and Green. Hollman hit both Green and Peter Siddle back over their head for six before the latter extracted revenge by having the all-rounder caught in the deep.
Tom Helm struck early in the chase when the dangerous Smeed miscued him into the hands of Behrendorf at mid-off.
Banton struck back courtesy of a top edge over the wicketkeeper’s head for six, while Rilee Roussow greeted Harris with a drive over cover for four. However, the youngster sent the man with almost 500 runs in the competition packing next ball, wicketkeeper Simpson taking a skier from a top edge.
Banton reached 39 before being castled by Thilan Walallawita’s top-spinner and the hosts spied a glimmer of hope when Harris struck for a second time to remove Tom Lammonby, leaving Somerset on 95 for four.
Tom Abell (36) swept Walallawita for six, but he perished too, losing his off-stump trying to reverse sweep Green.
All of a sudden 42 were needed from the last four and when Jack Davies held a stunner to remove Gregory off Behrendorf the visitors were creaking.
Behrendorf removed Green to a catch in the deep only for Craig Overton to strike his first two balls from the Australian high into the stands.
Behrendorf’s retort was to have him caught at cover to leave 10 needed from the final over, but Davey had the last word to send Somerset to the knockout stages.
At the close of play, Davey said: “To get over the line and secure a quarter-final place is very pleasing. When you bat down the order you don’t get a lot of time to get yourself in, so you have to practice hitting sixes from ball one. It’s pleasing when what you practice comes off.
“We stuck to our plans well, we put the squeeze on them and we restricted them to a score that we were pretty happy to chase.”
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