Hildreth shines in Somerset win
James Hildreth hit a magnificent 53-ball century, the first three-figure score of this year’s Friends Life t20, to guide Somerset to a thrilling four-wicket victory over the Welsh Dragons in an absorbing Midlands/Wales/West match at Taunton.
Somerset won with one ball to spare, Hildreth finishing unbeaten on 107.
Shaun Marsh had given the visitors hope with a sparkling 85 off 52 balls as they posted 178 for five after winning the toss.
Martin van Jaarsveld leant valuable support with 36, while Steve Kirby returned 1-19 from four overs.
Somerset then plunged to 24 for three in reply before Hildreth smashed 15 fours and a six to turn the match, with five of his fours coming in a single over from James Harris.
Even then it took a six in the final over from Lewis Gregory, inches over Marsh on the long-off boundary, to settle the outcome. Indeed, had Marsh not been a few yards in from the fence, he might well have taken the catch.
It was almost a one-man batting show for Somerset as Hildreth made liberal use of the sweep and reverse-sweep.
The next top-scorer was Jos Buttler, with 22, as the home side maintained their unbeaten record.
Marsh took his time to size up the home attack, scoring only seven from the first 14 balls he faced, but from then on he showed majestic form, blasting nine fours and four sixes to lead his side to a challenging total.
The watchful start meant the Welsh Dragons had only 31 on the board after the first six powerplay overs, and 56 by the end of the 10th.
Jim Allenby survived a stumping chance to Steve Snell off Max Waller on 12 and went on to support Marsh with a fluent 33 before being caught by Peter Trego at midwicket off the left-arm spin of Arul Suppiah.
After Allenby departed van Jaarsveld took up the attack, scoring his runs off 22 balls, with four fours and a six. He was eventually caught at long-off to give Kirby a well-deserved wicket.
Somerset were without five first choice players - Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Kevin O'Brien, George Dockrell and Craig Kieswetter - because of international duty. All bar Kieswetter will be back for their next t20 game away to Northamptonshire on Tuesday.