Somerset agonisingly short in semi
Somerset narrowly missed out on becoming the first English side to reach the Champions League T20 final as they lost to Mumbai Indians by 10 runs in Chennai.
Mumbai will face fellow Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in tomorrow’s showpiece, also at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Aiden Blizzard’s 54 from 39 balls underpinned the Indians’ total of 160 for five with all Somerset’s bowlers bar Peter Trego taking one wicket.
Craig Kieswetter, excused England duty in Hyderabad today, kept Somerset in the hunt with 62 from 46 deliveries, his second fifty in as many innings, but fell to James Franklin in the penultimate over.
Defending 15 in the last, Lasith Malinga doubled his wicket-tally to finish with 4-20 from four as the Friends Life t20 runners-up came up short.
In doing so they missed out on £845,000 for reaching the final and a shot at £1.6million, having to make do with £320,000 instead. However, they can be proud of being the first county to reach the last four, having had to qualify for the tournament proper immediately after a gruelling domestic season.
Blizzard rewarded Harbhajan Singh’s decision to bat first, scoring 35 of the 51 runs that came from the first powerplay. Sarul Kanwar was the only wicket during those six overs, holing out to the leg-side boundary rider off Steve Kirby.
Blizzard took Kirby for three fours in the seamer’s first over and a six in his next before clearing the ropes off Adam Dibble and striking his following ball for four.
Dibble, whose four overs cost just 20, returned to remove Ambati Rayudu, who edged a swipe to wicketkeeper Kieswetter for a run-a-ball 19. Blizzard went to fifty with fortune as Jos Buttler spilled a tough chance over the rope off Murali Kartik.
Roelof van der Merwe struck second ball by trapping Franklin, formerly of Somerset’s local rivals Gloucestershire, in front and fellow spinner Kartik landed a crucial blow in the next over, beating Blizzard’s slog-sweep.
Kieron Pollard, playing against the county he helped reached the CLT20 qualifier, launched two typically towering midwicket maximums before playing on to a full Alfonso Thomas delivery for 24 from 18 deliveries.
That threatened to keep Mumbai in check but Thomas conceded 20 from the penultimate over as Suryakumar Yadav and Rajagopal Sathish finished unbeaten on 23 from 19 and 25 from 12 respectively.
Malinga soon made two breakthroughs, yorking Trego for nought from the innings’ second ball and uprooting van der Merwe’s middle stump with another full delivery.
James Hildreth countered, twice lofting Yuzvendra Chahal over mid-on in his first over, and Kieswetter regularly found the rope, including twice consecutively off Chahal.
Kieswetter was reprieved on 31 in the deep for the first of two fours in Sathish’s opening over but Harbhajan broke through with 100 on the board when Hildreth played on via a sweep from outside off stump for 39 from 33 balls, the stand worth 83.
Kieswetter heralded his half-century with a single off Harbhajan before makeshift gloveman Rayudu missed a stumping chance later in the over. Kieswetter punished that mistake with a straight six off Abu Ahmed, whose set of six cost 16.
That left Somerset needing 29 from 18 balls and, after a tight Malinga over and Buttler's firm shot painfully struck the non-striker on the left forearm, Franklin bowled Buttler for 19 and had Kieswetter caught at long-on to swing the game Mumbai’s way.
Nick Compton reverse-swept Franklin’s last ball for four but, attempting a similarly cute scoop, was beaten by Malinga, who cleaned up Kartik first ball.
Somerset skipper Thomas said: “We’ve pushed a top team. It’s that guy Malinga, isn’t it? He’s just a quality performer. We’re gutted but I hope we’ve provided good entertainment to the people of India.
“A few guys came over here as boys and leave the tournament as men, like Adam Dibble who’s played really well in the last two games.”