T20 Blast Semis & Final
Semi Final 1
THE curse of the Vitality Blast T20 for the season’s previous holders continues as the Essex Eagles beat holders Hampshire Hawks by five wickets with three balls to spare.
Needing 170 to win, the Eagles target was reduced to 115 from 12 overs because of rain. With 45 needed off five overs the Eagles needed a big over and they got it. First Matt Critchley drove John Turner straight for a six. Two balls later Daniel Sams clipped Turner off his legs for another six.
Sams pulled Nathan Ellis for a six over square leg after his first four balls went for only two. Sams thought he had hit another six but was caught on the point boundary edge by Russ Whiteley. Liam Dawson bowled the 11th over and only conceded seven runs and looked to have bowled the Hawks into the final.
With 13 needed from the last over bowled by Ellis, Critchley reached for a slower ball and it went for a straight six. Eagles captain Simon Harmer won the match two balls later when he drilled the third ball for a six over long on.
Put into bat the Hawks made 170 for seven in their 20 overs with Joe Weatherley top scoring with an unbeaten 63, his third 50 in this year’s competition. He came into bat when the Hawks innings was stuttering, losing two wickets for 43 by the end of the fourth over after they made a blistering start with Ben McDermott and captain James Vince hitting 14 of the first over.
Weatherley said: “We felt that 160 was par and to get 170 was a good score but we lost wickets consistently. I thought that Benny Howell’s played a good knock on a typical Edgbaston pitch. It was an important toss to win and the guys are bitterly disappointed. The great thing about Ellis is that he loves bowling at the death. We feel that we are a better team than last year and our record speaks for itself.”
McDermott down the pitch to Sams and flat batted him for a low flat brutal straight six but fortune favoured McDermott when he edged the next through the vacant slip area to the boundary. The got rid off McDermott when he pulled a slower ball from Sam Cook to Sams on the backward square
Hawks skipper Vince drove Sam Snater to Harmer at mid off. The Hawks lost their third wicket to the third ball off the seventh over when Tom Prest had a big swing at Critchley and was hit on the back leg, initially given not out Critchley persuaded Harmer to review it and the review showed it to be hitting.
Harmer nearly struck with his first ball when Liam Dawson had a big swing and Sams on the mid wicket boundary prevented a six but couldn’t take the catch.
Dawson sliced a drive off Harmer and Critchley ran round from mid off to cover to take the catch when it looked like it would fall between three fielders. Critchley got his second wicket when Fuller pulled to Snater on the long on boundary,
Weatherley drove Harmer over the short, long on boundary for a six. In the next over he went down the pitch to Paul Walter and flayed him the long off boundary. He squeezed Sams to the third man boundary to bring up his third 50 of the season. He got down on one knee and swept Cook over square leg for a six.
Hawks danger man Whiteley, who once hit 36 in an over against Yorkshire,sliced a drive off Walter and skied him to backward point where Cook took the catch.
Howell pulled a slower ball from Sams but Beard running in from the mid wicket boundary put the chance down. Howell drilled the next ball for a six over the long on boundary. But next ball he found Snater on the mid wicket boundary.
Adam Rossington clipped the third ball their innings Chris from Wood to Weatherley on the fine leg boundary who had to move a couple of yards to his right. Dan Lawrence skied a drive off Wood but Dawson at mid off couldn’t take the catch in swirling conditions.
Lawrence chipped Howell just over Dawson for a couple over extra cover. Two balls later Lawrence backed away and hit Howell for a six over long on.
Michael Pepper was getting nowhere quick and hit Fuller miles in the air and Turner took the catch at third man. Walter was sent in to blast the Hawks attack but two balls later it was Critchley who hit went for a big shot and edged it to McDermott.
Walter tried to work Turner off his legs but missed the ball and was adjudged leg before but Walter reviewed it and the replay showed Walter to be plumb.
Sams managed to hit two consecutive fours off James Fuller. Two balls later he clipped Fuller off his legs for a six over mid wicket.
Semi Final 2
SOMERSET beat Surrey by 24 runs with 13 balls to spare to reach the final in a match reduced to 19 overs a side.
Craig Overton, Matt Henry and Ish Sodhi each took three wickets as they defended 142. Defending a low score you need early wickets and Somerset got three in their first five overs.First to go was Laurie Evans who was through his shot too soon to Craig Overton’s slower ball. Somerset got another wicket three overs later when Jason Roy skied Henry and Sean Dickson ran round from the square leg boundary to take the catch.
They were back in the match when Will Jacks got too far under a pull off Craig Overton and Sam Smeed on the square leg boundary took a good catch. Ben Green struck with his first ball when Sam Curran drove him straight to Henry at mid off and the Somerset fans were in dreamland. He got his second wicket in his next over, when like Sam Curran, Smith drove him into the wind and Craig Overton took the catch coming in from the long off boundary.
After pulling Sodhi to the long on boundary Jamie Overton tried to repeat the shot to the next ball but found his brother on the long on boundary.
Tom Curran clipped Somerset captain Lewis Gregory off his legs for a six. Surrey captain Chris Jordan tried his best to turn things around and pulled Sodhi over the long on boundary for a six. He greeted the return of Craig Overton into the attack by pulling over the square leg boundary. Three balls later Jordan was on his way back to the hutch. He pulled Craig Overton but didn’t get enough bat on it and Smeed took the catch on the square leg boundary.
Tom Curran was another Surrey player who give catching practice to the Somerset fielders. He picked out Tom Abell on the square leg boundary. Somerset thought Cameron Steel had edged Green to Tom Banton but umpire Graham Lloyd turned down their appeal. Somerset reviewed and it showed he had edged it.
Surrey’s Sean Abbott took four wickets for 23 as Surrey restricted Somerset to 140 in their 19 overs. He got his first wicket in the fifth over. Surrey thought they had an early breakthrough when they went up for a catch behind but umpire Steve O’’Shaughnessy was unmoved but Surrey were convinced and reviewed it. The replay showed that the dangerous Sneed had edged Abbott.
Abbott got his second wicket when Tom Kohler-Cadmore sliced ba drive and Evans took a good catch at point with the ball coming over his right shoulder.
Aussie Abbott got his third wicket when Green top edged a flat batted drive and Abbott ran to his left and took a steepling return catch. Three balls later he got his fourth when Craig Overton edged a drive and Tom Curran at short third man took a great low catch.
After working Gus Atkinson over the fine leg boundary, Surrey thought they had their second wicket with the next ball. Again O’Shaughnessy was unmoved, again Surrey reviewed it and again they were right.
Able backed away from Sam Curran to hit him through the covers with the rain coming down but he was quickly through his shot and was bowled. Dickson slashed Tom Curran over backward point for a six and was unbeaten on 30. The Ciderman’s hopes of getting a score near to 160 ended when skipper Gregory got a thick outside edge to a drive off Jordan and Smith took the the best of his three catches so far one handed leaping to his right.
SOMERSET won their first Blast T20 final for 18 years as they beat Essex Eagles by 24 runs with nine balls to spare.
The 145 that Somerset defended was the lowest score a side has defended in a final since Leicestershire defended 145 in the 2011 final against Somerset. Matt Henry took four wickets for 24 and Ish Sodhi took three wickets for 22 in his four overs.
Sodhi said: “ To defend 140 in two games shows the immense character of the tea. I think that Craig Overton and Matt Henry have phonominal in this competition. They showed their experience. I thought that Essex played some aggressive cricket and to keep taking wickets won us the game.”
Essex Eagles the match for the taking but they tried to win it at a canter. Chasing 146 to win openers Adam Rossington and Dan Lawrence hit 13 off the first over, but after hitting 19 off eight balls Rossington cut Henry and Kasey Aldridge caught it at point when the ball had almost passed him. That was the last ball of his first over, with the first ball of his second over he squared Michael Pepper up and bowled him. Four balls later he trapped Lawrence leg before.
After hitting Overton for a boundary and with the Eagles on 44 fir three Robin Das committed suicide by chipping the next ball to Henry at mid off. Worse was to follow for Essex. Matt Critchley moved across his stumps and missed a straight ball from Lewis Gregory and was leg before.
On nine Paul Walter went down the pitch to Ben Green got an outside edge and the ball flew to Sodhi at third man but he lost the ball as he moved to his left and ball went to his right. Sodhi said: I thought I had lost the game.” But Sodhi soon had him when Walter went for a big hit over legside to him and was bowled.
With the Eagles on 85 for six, Daniel Sams gently eased Aldridge over the square leg boundary. He edged Gregory past two fielders on the edge of the circle to reach the third man boundary. He blasted Sodhi into the Hollies for six. While he was there with Harmer the Eagles had a chance but when Harmer tried to run Gregory to the third man boundary stumper Tom Banton took the catch moving to his left.
With 21 needed from two overs Henry was brought back into the attack and Sams blasted his first ball for a straight six. Two balls later he got an outside edge to Henry and Tom Kohler-Canmore took a brilliant one handed catch with his left hand to win the match. Sodhi added: “That catch is going to replayed a lot over the next few days.”
Essex Eagles won the toss and put Somerset in who brought Kasey Aldridge in for Shoaib Bashir while the Eagles were unchanged from their semi final. The Eagles restricted Somerset to 144 all out in their 20 overs. Shane Snater took three wickets for 13 and took a catch and Walter also three for 29.
The Eagels got an early breakthrough when Will Sneed played on to Snater’s second ball of his first over, which was a wicket maiden and the second in a Blast final. Snater got his second wicket when Banton reversed swept him straight to Robin Das at backward point. He got his third wicket when Gregory top edged a pull and Snater took a simple return catch.
The Eagles were drying the Somerset runs up and Tom Abell lost patience and tried hitting Walter over the top but found Aaron Beard at long on. Green skied Walter and Robin Das at point ran in to take the catch diving forward. Overton was run out by Das’ direct hit going for a second.
For Somerset Sean Dickson top scored with 53, his first 50 in the Blast this season. He reversed swept Harmer’s first ball in the final to the third man boundary. Two balls later hamered Harmer straight to the boundary. He reversed slogged Critchley to the backward point boundary and cut the next ball to the point boundary. He wasn’t finished there he bottom edged Walter to the third man boundary.
Dickson cut Walter to the third man boundary to bring up his 50 of the from 33 balls. Two balls late he gloved a pull off Walter and Rossington took a brilliant one handed catch above his head.
Kohler-Cadmore deposited Cook into the Hollies stand but after two dot balls to from Critchley Kohler-Cadmore played on to him.
Critchley thought he had got rid of Gregory before he had scored but Gregory thought it had hit the ground. The umpire Martin Saggers sent it to be reviewed, despite giving the soft signal of out, TV umpire Nigel Llong ruled the ball had touched the ground.
Henry pulled Walter’s last ball of the final to the long on boundary. He bottom edged a pull off Sams in the next over and that man Snater running in from long off took the catch. Sodhi was run out by Walter going for a second in their final over.
T20 BLAST COMPETITION
July 23, 2023 5:29 pm