Surrey up and running
Surrey Lions pulled off their first Friends Provident t20 victory by dampening the fire of Somerset Sabres’ batting power at Taunton.
The visitors won by 21 runs, having posted what looked a below par total of 160 for seven. Mark Ramprakash and Younus Khan both contributed 59, while Alfonso Thomas took 3-27.
Despite Kieron Pollard’s explosive 42 off 30 balls, with three sixes, and an unbeaten half-century from James Hildreth, Somerset were always behind the required rate and eventually stumbled to 139 for eight.
Chris Tremlett was the pick of the Surrey bowlers with 2-25, while Jade Dernbach conceded only 19 from his four overs.
A crowd of more than 6,000 basked in the Taunton sunshine, many of them wearing the yellow hard hats Somerset had distributed to promote the big-hitting potential of their batting line-up.
Perhaps that sight acted as an incentive to the Surrey bowlers. The Lions lived up to their name with their boundary fielding and defended their total as if lives depended on it.
They had to recover from 47 for four after losing the toss and owed much to a stand of 84 in eight overs between Ramprakash and Younus, who both timed the ball sweetly.
Man-of-the-match Ramprakash faced 38 balls, hitting seven fours and two sixes, despite being troubled by a foot injury.
Younus was run out in the final over, having faced 41 balls and hit seven fours.
Somerset’s hopes of bludgeoning their way to a quick success were soon scuppered as openers Marcus Trescothick and Craig Kieswetter fell with only 13 on the board.
They were given a chance by a fourth-wicket stand of 70 between Pollard and Hildreth, which at least featured some of the promised six-hitting.
West Indies all-rounder Pollard lived up to his reputation with some savage blows, but when he was caught at mid-off from a Tremlett full toss 44 runs were still needed off just 22 balls.
Somerset had pulled their previous two t20 games out of the fire from apparently losing positions. But this was a bridge too far, despite Hildreth finishing unbeaten on 54, having faced 44 balls and hit five fours and a six.