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Somerset aim to sneak through

Somerset will only concentrate on completing their half of the bargain as they aim to sneak into the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals tonight.

Somerset must beat South Group cellar-dwellars Middlesex at Taunton and hope result elsewhere go their way to claim the last qualification place.

Most significantly they need fourth-placed Glamorgan to lose at home to out-of-contention Gloucestershire while Kent Spitfires also have an outside chance of over-taking them on net run-rate when they host Surrey.

“On Friday night it is totally within our control to make sure we get across the line against Middlesex, but totally out of our control whether we can qualify or not, so we are just trying to focus on the T20 format for ourselves,” coach Dave Nosworthy told the club’s website.

Somerset will still be without leading runscorer Craig Kieswetter who has undergone successful surgery after he suffered a serious facial injury during the LV= County Championship match against Northamptonshire earlier this month.

The wicketkeeper-batsman was struck by a David Willey bouncer and in his absence Somerset have lost their past two Blast games.

Kieswetter revealed he is not yet sure when he will be ready to resume, even though the surgery went well and he was cleared of any long-lasting damage to his eye.

“I’ve never really been one to do things half heartedly and so the damage turned out to be quite extensive – I shattered my orbital floor (the cup your eye sits in) and broke and fractured my nose in three different places. I certainly gave the surgeon a challenge of piecing my boyish good looks back together,” he said.

“Surgery went as well as I could have hoped for. A couple of metal plates inserted, a few of stitches, some painkillers and I was sent on my way. But all jokes aside it was a relief to find out there was no lasting damage to my eye.

“We aren’t really sure yet on the recovery period as it is a fairly unique injury in terms of breakage and muscle strain.

“The standard recovery period for a break is six weeks (depending on the extent of the damage) but because there was some strain and trauma to my eye we will be continually assessing the recovery.”

Middlesex will look to round out a miserable campaign with victory after they suffered a heartbreaking last-ball defeat to London rivals Surrey last night.

Middlesex’s two wins in the competition have come away from home and have kept faith with the XI they lost at Lord’s with Paul Stirling, Toby Roland-Jones and Gurjit Sandhu also included in a 14-man squad.

For Somerset Nick Compton, Jack Leach and Jamie Overton join the XI that lost at Kent last time out.

* Somerset are aiming to reach the quarter-finals for the sixth successive season.

* James Hildreth needs two more catches to become the second non-wicketkeeper, after Lancashire's Steven Croft, to have taken 50 catches in English domestic Twenty20 cricket.

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