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Levi makes his mark for Somerset

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Overseas signing Richard Levi announced himself to the Somerset faithful in fine style as Warwickshire were brushed aside in the Friends Life t20 Midlands/Wales/West Group encounter at Taunton.

The South African replaced compatriot Francois du Plessis, who had filled the void left by Chris Gayle opting not to fulfil his contract, as one of the hosts’ overseas players.

And Levi, the holder of the record for the fastest international Twenty20 century, began in some style, hitting a 34-ball 69 to see Somerset to a commanding 191 for six.

Young spinner Max Waller then claimed 4-16 as the Bears were dismissed for 128 in reply, with Somerset - the competition’s runners-up for three successive years - getting off the mark with a 63-run triumph.

Richard Levi

South African Richard Levi marked his Somerset debut with a half-century that helped seal a 63-run Friends Life t20 success at Taunton this evening

In front of 5,000-plus fans, Craig Kieswetter quickly reached 20, including two sixes, after the hosts had been asked to bat, only to then be caught at short fine-leg by Chris Wright off Chris Woakes.

The same bowler struck again when Peter Trego pulled a short delivery to Darren Maddy at deep midwicket.

Jos Buttler brought the Somerset fifty up with an inside edge to the fine-leg boundary off Woakes’ final over, but then departed; the youngster hit off-spinner Jeetan Patel to backward point.

Having moved quietly to 34, Levi began to open his shoulders, striking Steffan Piolet for two sixes in an over before bringing up his half-century - and Somerset’s hundred - by clipping Patel to the square-leg fence.

Albie Morkel, the hosts’ other overseas star, wasted little time in announcing his intentions, crashing Keith Barker for six as 19 runs came in the 13th over.

Maddy was introduced in the 15th, but Levi duly dispatched his first ball over long-on for six.

The opener fell attempting to repeat the trick later in the over, however, as he was caught on the boundary by Woakes to end a blistering knock.

Morkel was then run out for 38 yet, despite Nick Compton also departing, the damage was already done.

Openers Laurie Evans and Varun Chopra got the reply off to a solid start.

But the dismissal of the former, bowled by Alfonso Thomas, started a collapse; after Will Porterfield hit Waller to extra-cover, Maddy was trapped in front by the leg-spinner before slow left-armer George Dockrell had Chopra stumped for 37.

That all but ended the visitors’ charge, with Waller completing his haul by getting rid of Rikki Clarke and Woakes either side of Steve Kirby bowling Barker.

Thomas finished figures of 3-17 by removing Richard Johnson and Patel, with Morkel finishing things off by having Wright caught by man-of-the-moment Levi.

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