Trescothick speeds Somerset to final
Marcus Trescothick produced a devastating display of hitting to help Somerset set up a showdown with Sussex in the Twenty20 Cup final.
The left-handed opener raced to a 27-ball half-century to set his side on their way to a seven-wicket victory over Kent at Edgbaston.
Trescothick displayed awesome hitting - his fifty contained eight fours and two sixes - as the Sabres made light of their 146 target to win with seven balls to spare.
Somerset followed the example of Sussex in the first semi-final by asking Kent to bat first and they took early wickets to put the Spitfires on the back foot.
Alfonso Thomas struck in each of his opening two overs with Joe Denley yorked for nought and Martin van Jaarsveld trapped lbw for 10.
It became 31 for three when former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones backed away to try and hit Charl Willoughby over cover and was bowled for six.
But Darren Stevens showed his pedigree in this format of the game in helping Kent to a challenging total with the aid of solid support from skipper Robert Key and Justin Kemp.
Stevens brought up his half-century off only 40 balls with six fours and his partnership with Key, who made 34, realised 62 in nine overs before the latter was bowled by Peter Trego.
The final over from Arul Suppiah cost 20 runs with Stevens twice lofting him for six over long-on.
He was eventually run out attempting a second run off the final ball of the innings, having made 77 from 51 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes.
Kemp was left unbeaten on 15 after helping Steven add 52 in five overs.
But Kent’s recovery was soon put into perspective by Trescothick and captain Justin Langer, who enjoyed an opening stand of 73 in seven overs.
It needed spinner James Tredwell to halt the momentum by removing both in successive overs.
Langer was caught for 17 off a leading edge by van Jaarsveld at cover and Trescothick perished to Azhar Mahmood for 56 at backward point to reduce Somerset to 84 for two in the ninth over.
James Hildreth and Zander de Bruyn were in a position to take few risks after Trescothick’s, onslaught although the former went down the pitch to hit Wayne Parnell for a straight six.
Their third-wicket stand of 57 in 10 overs took Somerset to within five runs of victory before Hildreth was bowled for 36 by Mahmood in the penultimate over. De Bruyn finished 33 not out.
A delighted Langer lavished praise on Trescothick for his match-winning knock.
“Marcus has been simply magnificent. He has been in incredible form. He is as good a player as you will see and he showed that again in that innings,” he said.
However, the former Australia opener admitted he did not know whether Trescothick’s stress related illness, which forced him to retire from international cricket, would prevent him travelling to India for the Champions League.
Langer added: “Am I confident he will play in the Champions League? You will have to ask him. But presumably he would be important to play for Somerset.”
Key said “To stop Trescothick, you have got to be right on the ball from the start. We weren’t. He got 16 off the first over and that was the story of the first six overs.
“We didn’t bat well enough in the first six overs but 145 would have been alright with a decent bowling show but when someone gets 50 odd off 30 odd balls you are always struggling. We bowled too wide.
“Marcus was one of the best players in the world, certainly in one-day cricket when he left (England). He has probably been England’s finest one-day batsman for a while.
“He got hundreds in one-day internationals and has a serious Test record. He is a fantastic player.
“I always thought he was one of the best in the world, certainly in the one-day game. He is so hard to bowl at, even for international bowlers.”