Kieswetter slices through Steelbacks
Craig Kieswetter produced a timely return to form as Somerset crushed Northamptonshire Steelbacks by seven wickets at Taunton to reach Friends Provident t20 finals day.
The England one-day wicketkeeper hit 33 off 28 balls, with a six and four fours, to help last year’s runners-up chase down a simple target of 113 with three overs to spare.
Peter Trego and James Hildreth were the other main contributors with 30 and an unbeaten 25 respectively.
Northants shot themselves in the foot with three run outs after winning the toss.
Only Stephen Peters and Rob White could make any impression, with 40 not out and 26 respectively, on a turning pitch as left-arm spinners Murali Kartik and Arul Suppiah tied them in knots. Kartik took 1-15 and Suppiah 1-14, both from four overs.
After Kieswetter’s bright start, Trego ensured an early finish with two sixes off James Middlebrook, who eventually dismissed him.
However, Middlebrook could not match the economy of the Somerset spinners or of team-mate Jack Brooks, who bowled four overs for 11.
The Steelbacks had not helped themselves with some wretched calling at the start of the match.
Chaminda Vaas was dismissed without facing a ball, responding to White's bid for a third run off only the second delivery of the game.
Alex Wakely then drove Ben Phillips to mid-off where Mark Turner spilled a low catch.
But when White failed to respond to the call for a single, both batsmen ended up at the bowler's end and Turner's throw to the wicketkeeper saw Wakely run out for eight.
It was 31 for two at the end of the six powerplay overs and 32 for three when David Sales pulled Turner straight to Kartik at midwicket.
The introduction of Kartik to the attack immediately paid dividends on the dry, used pitch as he bowled White with an arm ball. That made it 42 for four in the eighth over.
Marcus Trescothick reacted to the sight of the ball turning by bringing on Suppiah at the other end and his first delivery saw Elton Chigumbura stumped by Kieswetter.
The Steelbacks were in disarray as they found it almost impossible to get the spinners away for boundaries. They had struggled to 81 for five in the 18th over when Andrew Hall was run out by Hildreth.
Trego went for 18 off the penultimate over as Peters at last cleared the rope, Turner picking up an ankle injury as he jumped to try and take the catch at deep midwicket.
But it was much too little too late to set Somerset any sort of challenge.