Brilliant Patel sinks Somerset
Jeetan Patel starred as Warwickshire survived a major scare before beginning their new LV= County Championship campaign with a two-wicket win against Somerset at Edgbaston.
Chasing a target of 259, last year’s Division One runners-up seemed to be cruising home until Peter Trego turned the game upside down with four wickets in 23 deliveries.
Warwickshire nosedived from 190 for three to 207 for eight in half a dozen overs, but Patel produced a spectacular counter-attack, facing only 36 balls to score 43 of the 55 runs added with skipper Jim Troughton.
Patel, who hit a century against Yorkshire in a first spell with Warwickshire three years ago, went for his shots in a bold display of hitting that snatched the game away from Marcus Trescothick’s men.
Having hoisted Trego high over long-on, he carved Vernon Philander over third man, although that might have resulted in a catch had the former not lost his footing on the greasy surface in the shadow of the pavilion.
With 16 needed and a new ball available in three overs, Trescothick gambled on his young spinner, George Dockrell. The Irishman won the opening match against Middlesex with a return of 6-27, but this time he was trumped by Patel.
The New Zealander drove him for six and then two fours before taking a single, which allowed Troughton, who hit 15 not out, to strike the winning boundary past point; the last five balls in a remarkable win yielded 19 runs.
When Warwickshire began the last day on 123 for two, there was no suggestion it would be anything other than a formality.
The overnight pair, Will Porterfield and Ian Westwood, took their partnership to 102 and no-one reached for the panic button when Philander made a breakthrough in the 10th over of the day.
Westwood’s dismissal for 32, padding up to a straight ball from the South African, was passed off as an error of judgment, but Warwickshire suddenly fell under Trego’s spell when Darren Maddy was given out leg before, looking to nudge the ball off his pads.
Porterfield’s departure in Trego’s next over was both surprising and disappointing as he aimed an ugly shot across the line and somehow deflected a catch to Craig Kieswetter, diving in front of first slip.
The Ireland left-hander, who moved to Edgbaston from Gloucestershire 18 months ago, has yet to score a championship hundred for his second county and this was an opportunity wasted after he had played so well with 12 fours in making 84 from 161 balls.
Even then Warwickshire were not in serious trouble at 197 for five, but they soon would be as Tim Ambrose and Rikki Clarke gave return catches to Trego and Steve Kirby.
When Keith Barker trod on his stumps, taking evasive action, it needed something special by Patel, with four fours and three sixes, to take the glory away from Trego and his return of 4-37.