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Tom and Roelof inspire Somerset to memorable victory

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Tom Abell smashed an unbeaten 78 as Somerset reached Vitality Blast Finals Day with a seven-wicket win over Lancashire Lightning at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

The visitors posted 184 for nine after losing the toss, skipper Dane Vilas top-scoring with 42 from 33 balls, Josh Bohannon contributing 35 and Rob Jones 38 not out. Left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe claimed four for 27.

In reply, Somerset made 185 for three, winning with 11 balls to spare. Abell hit seven fours and three sixes in his 45-ball innings, while Will Smeed cracked 44 and Tom Lammonby 47 not out.

A sell-out 7,000 crowd enjoyed a riveting contest. Liam Livingstone’s innings of 25 may only have lasted ten balls at the start of Lancashire’s innings, but it was more than enough time to demonstrate his prodigious talent.

Two of his three sixes were extraordinary, one reaching well wide of off stump to deposit the ball over long-on into the River Tone and another lifted with sufficient force over mid-wicket to strike the top storey of the flats.

At 44 without loss in the fourth over, Lancashire looked to be on course for a monster total. But van der Merwe then grasped a sharp return catch above his head to dismiss Livingstone and pinned Alex Davies lbw three balls later.

Bohannon hit six fours in helping the Lightning to 55 for two off the six-over powerplay. But, with 25 added, van der Merwe returned to have him stumped.

A change of ends saw van der Merwe have Luke Wells stumped yards down the pitch in the 11th over.  And when Vilas pulled a Lammonby full toss to Smeed at deep square, Lancashire were 134 for five in the 14th over.

Green produced a brilliant diving catch at deep square to send back Steven Croft before Marchant de Lange dismissed Danny Lamb and Tom Bailey with successive balls. Tom Hartley was run out and, despite Jones’ breezy 27-ball innings, Lancashire’s total looked below par.

Their hopes were raised when Tom Banton played the final ball of Tom Bailey’s opening over onto his stumps and James Hildreth soon followed to Lamb to make it 12 for two.

Smeed was caught off a no-ball, as Vilas had been in Lancashire’s innings, and responded by clearing the flats Livingstone had hit with a huge six off Bailey.

Another Smeed six took Somerset to 52 for two off six overs. Abell was then dropped on 15 at backward point by the diving Bailey, attempting to reverse sweep Hartley.

 

At halfway in their innings, the hosts were 83 for two, requiring more than ten an over. Their chances appeared to recede when Smeed was caught at backward point off Lamb.

But Abell reached his fifty off 32 balls and then hit a flat six over mid-wicket off Richard Gleeson.

Lammonby survived a tough chance to Hartley running in from mid-wicket off Livingstone and took advantage with a six in the same over to reduce the target to 40 off ten.

Abell then hit Hartley for six and Lammonby followed suit with two maximum’s off Bailey as the 18th over proved decisive.

Somerset match-winner, Tom Abell said: “It was an incredible night. The atmosphere from the very first ball was amazing and to come out on top against such good opponents feels fantastic.

“I just tried to play the situation. I had one of my worst net practices ever yesterday, but thankfully Will Smeed took a lot of pressure off me at the start of my innings and Tom Lammonby was brilliant at the end.

“The support from the crowd was superb and we know a lot of our supporters will be at Finals Day. First we have some very important Championship cricket, starting against Notts here on Monday.”

Following our victory over Lancashire Lightning this evening, Somerset County Cricket Club have qualified for Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday September 18th.

We will be confirming the details of ticket and travel arrangements for our Members at 12pm tomorrow via all of our usual channels.

No details will be released before that time, so check out this website at 12pm.

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