Pollard soars to put Somerset in final
Kieron Pollard’s brilliant catch at long-on proved the difference as Somerset claimed a tense three-run Duckworth-Lewis victory in their rain-affected semi-final with Nottinghamshire Outlaws.
Chasing a revised target of 152 from 16 overs, Samit Patel and David Hussey shared a 64-run partnership as Notts recovered from 47 for three.
However, Pollard then jumped high at long-on to dismiss Patel for 39 off Peter Trego, soon giving Somerset a place in the final - their second in as many years - against hosts Hampshire Royals.
Earlier, Marcus Trescothick dazzled with 60, before handing centre stage to youngster Jos Buttler, who hit 55 not out to see Somerset to 182 for five.
Clearly spurred on by Hussey’s decision to field first, Notts’ bowlers started aggressively with Dirk Nannes’ first delivery crashing into Trescothick’s helmet.
The former England opener responded well, though, hitting Stuart Broad for consecutive boundaries in the next over.
Timing was proving elusive for Craig Kieswetter, but Trescothick was having no such problems as he cut Nannes over third man for the game’s first six.
Kieswetter finally cut loose in the fifth over, crunching Ryan Sidebottom for a trademark six over long-off.
Trescothik continued to be the real danger, though, unleashing an array of sensational strokes all round the wicket as the fifty-partnership arrived.
However, the duo were not able to add to that before Kieswetter’s scratchy innings was brought to an end as he top-edged Broad.
Trego did not last long, bowled by a Patel delivery that skidded on.
The double breakthrough did not stop Trescothick, who followed up a beautiful late cut off Steven Mullaney for four with a scorching six over extra cover to bring up his 23-ball half-century.
Meanwhile, in-form James Hildreth was busily turning the strike over, looking particularly positive against spin.
Trescothick then slog-swept Graeme Swann for another four, but the bowler had the last laugh with a slower delivery that saw the overbalancing batsman stumped.
With the Outlaws’ spinners looking to put the squeeze on, Somerset had Zander de Bruyn run out after a mix-up with Hildreth.
Swann continued to impress, mixing pace and flight beautifully to restrict the batsmen, and he was rewarded with a return catch to dismiss Hildreth for 19 to leave Somerset struggling on 118 for five after 16 overs.
Much was expected when Pollard strolled to the crease, but it was Buttler who produced an array of inventive strokes, including the ‘dilscoop’, as he hit six fours and two sixes to hand Somerset the momentum.
The duo put on 75 for the sixth wicket, but Buttler was the name on everybody’s lips at the end of the innings.
Buttler’s enthusiasm saw him concede four overthrows early in Notts’ reply and Ali Brown followed up with two more fours in the next over from Ben Phillips.
Pinch-hitter Swann hoisted Pollard over midwicket for six, but fell to the West Indies all-rounder three balls later, de Bruyn taking a smart catch.
Alex Hales made an immediate impact with consecutive boundaries through fine-leg and extra-cover off Phillips.
Alfonso Thomas, the leading wicket-taker in the competition, then enhanced his growing reputation by taking two wickets in an over.
He had had Brown caught at fine-leg for 19, before uprooting the dangerous Hales’ leg stump.
Murali Kartik found prodigious turn, but Patel greeted fellow left-arm spinner Arul Suppiah with a sensational straight six.
With rain clouds closing in, Patel and Hussey stepped it up, hitting Kartik for a boundary apiece, before the former launched him into the stands over extra cover.
Notts gradually regained the momentum, but Pollard then produced his moment of magic soon before rain ended proceedings, leaving Notts just short.