Match Report: Somerset v Essex


Somerset v Essex

Vitality Blast
Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
Friday 31 May 2024, 6:30pm start


Team News:

Somerset: Tom Banton†, Will Smeed, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Tom Abell, Sean Dickson, Lewis Gregory*, Ben Green, Craig Overton, Roelof van der Merwe, Jake Ball, Riley Meredith.

Essex: Adam Rossington+, Dean Elgar, Michael Pepper, Jordan Cox, Paul Walter, Matt Critchley, Daniel Sams, Simon Harmer*, Luc Benkenstein, Ben Allison, Aaron Beard.

Match Details:

Umpires: Robert White & Ian Blackwell
Match Referee: Mike Smith
Toss: Somerset won the toss and elected to bowl
Result: Somerset won by four wickets

Scorecard: View Here

Match Reaction: Aaron Beard

Match Highlights

Match Report

Dean Elgar struck his first T20 fifty in Essex colours but Tom Abell and Lewis Gregory’s stand of 60 in 30 balls saw Somerset take a nail-biting four-wicket victory against Essex at the Cooper Associates County Ground.

Abell top-scored with 55 from 36 balls and Gregory smashed 44 from 22 deliveries as Somerset reached their target of 194 with five balls to spare in a repeat of last year’s final.

Tom Banton, Will Smeed and Sean Dickson also made useful contributions in front of the Sky TV cameras to leave Essex and Elgar, who made a 51-ball 77, crestfallen.

Playing against his former county, Elgar top-scored on his return to the West Country, accruing eight fours and two sixes and sharing in stands of 67 and 58 with Adam Rossington and Jordan Cox for the first and third wickets respectively as Essex posted 193-6.

Rossington contributed 32 and Cox 30, while Gregory returned figures of 3-42 off four overs in what was an excellent individual performance with bat and ball.

Determined to make a better fist of batting first following defeat to Gloucestershire at Bristol in their opening fixture 24 hours earlier, Essex made a reassuringly solid start on this occasion, Rossington and Elgar staging a stand of 67 in 7.3 overs.

With big shoes to fill after replacing Matt Henry as overseas pace spearhead, Australian Riley Meredith at least managed to keep things tight during three overs from the Marcus Trescothick Pavilion End that cost 16 runs.

But Craig Overton proved significantly more expensive at the other end, the former England bowler conceding five fours and a six in going for 32 in three overs as the visitors raised 56 without loss from the powerplay, big-hitting Rossington proving especially destructive.

Having already harvested five fours, Rossington greeted Roelof van der Merwe with a towering six hit straight back over the spinner’s head, only to then lose his off stump to Gregory in the act of swinging in the next over.

His swashbuckling innings of 32, made from 24 balls, at least afforded the visitors a platform from which to launch.

Michael Pepper came and went quickly, attempting to reverse sweep van der Merwe and offering a straightforward catch to Ben Green at short third man with the score on 74 in the ninth.

If home supporters sensed an opportunity to turn the tide, they were quickly disabused of the idea as Cox went on the attack.

He first lifted Jake Ball over deep backward point for a maximum and then pulled the next ball for four as the eleventh over yielded 14 runs to propel Essex into three figures.

Setting himself to bat through, the redoubtable Elgar found acceleration at the right time to go to 50 via 35 balls, reaching that landmark courtesy of his fifth four, a flowing off drive at the expense of Green.

Somerset needed a break and it arrived in the fifteenth over, Cox miscuing to extra cover off the bowling of Gregory and departing for a 23-ball 30.

He and Elgar had added 58 in 5.5 overs and set the stage for the big-hitting Paul Walter, who announced himself with a brace of fours and a six in the same Gregory over.

Back came the home side, Ball bowling Walter for 18 and Green making a mess of Daniel Sams’ stumps to partially redress the balance.

But Elgar was not finished, the veteran South African campaigner plundering 15 runs off the eighteenth to spoil Green’s figures on his way to a superb 77, and only succumbing to Gregory in the final over.

Somerset required a flying start and Tom Banton displayed aggressive intent by driving Aaron Beard over long-on for six and then collecting sumptuous cover-driven fours at the expense of Sams and Ben Allison.

Not wanting to appear tardy in comparison, Will Smeed pulled Allison to the boundary and then mustered a brace of sixes in plundering 20 from Walter’s first over to bring a packed audience to life.

Beard afforded Essex some relief, having Banton held at mid-wicket for a 14-ball 21 with the score on 49 in the fifth, but Smeed continued to trade in boundaries, smiting Sams for two successive maximums.

His mercurial innings came to an abrupt halt when he drove the very next ball to cover and departed for a 16-ball 39, having mustered 3 fours and a quartet of sixes as the home side reached 64-2 at the end of the powerplay.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell to Critchley in the next over, brilliantly caught by the diving Simon Harmer at mid-off, as Essex deployed spin at both ends in an attempt to apply pressure.

Somerset reached halfway on 90-3, requiring a further 104 runs at 10.4 an over, and Dickson brought up three figures with a straight-driven six off Critchley.

Meanwhile, Abell found the boundary often enough to keep the chase on track during the middle overs, smashing two fours and a six off the thirteenth, sent down by Luc Benkenstein, to bring up the 50 partnership in 36 balls.

But Beard returned to have Dickson caught in the deep for a 19-ball 26 as an enthralling contest took another twist.

New batsman Gregory injected immediate excitement, pulling Allison for a huge six, at which point the home side required a further 54 runs from 30 balls.

Crucially, the fifth wicket pair were able to keep the rate at around ten an over, Abell going to 50 via 31 balls with his first six.

Somerset needed a big over and Gregory provided it by smashing three sixes off the seventeenth, bowled by Critchley, to bring the rate under a run a ball for the first time.

Abell contributed 5 fours and a six before being caught at the wicket off the bowling of Walter, while Gregory mustered 4 sixes and a brace of fours to put the outcome beyond doubt as Somerset’s renowned batting line-up came good at the death.

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