Durham prevail in close encounter
Durham avenged last season’s Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final defeat at Taunton with a 14-run win against injury-hit Somerset at the Emirates Durham ICG.
It looked like being a stroll for Durham, but former England Under-19 batsman Alex Barrow marked his debut in the competition by playing some audacious strokes in making 72.
Somerset needed 76 in 9.3 overs when Barrow was joined on 147 for eight by George Dockrell, but they had reduced the target down to 18 off eight balls when Barrow skied one into the leg side to be caught.
In the final over Dockrell holed out to long-off and Somerset were all out for 208.
Graham Onions was pulled out of Durham’s team following his inclusion in England’s 13-man squad for the first Test against the West Indies and his replacement, Jamie Harrison, took two wickets in his first seven balls.
The 21-year-old left-arm seamer marked his debut by having Craig Kieswetter and Peter Trego lbw on the front foot.
Chasing Durham’s 222 for nine, Somerset rallied from 24 for three through a stand of 57 between Arul Suppiah and Craig Meschede, which was ended by Liam Plunkett’s first ball of the season.
It was short and wide but Suppiah cracked it fiercely to Will Smith, who leapt to take the catch above his head at backward point.
After working on his action over the winter in an attempt to restore his accuracy, Plunkett has been playing for Durham’s second XI.
In his second over Craig Meschede also chased a wide one and sliced to Gareth Breese at deep gully and Plunkett went on to finish with 4-33.
Jamie Overton took 4-42 for Somerset, although he did bowl four of their 10 wides.
His last two victims were caught at long-on by his twin, Craig, while he also claimed the scalp of Durham’s acting captain, Paul Collingwood.
The ex-England man had pulled two sixes over a short boundary on his way to 13 when he went down the pitch in the ninth over and skied to deep mid-on.
Durham recovered from 43 for three through Gordon Muchall and Will Smith putting on 124 in 24 overs.
Muchall dominated, scoring 75 off 87 balls with six fours and a six, while Smith struggled to find his timing and survived two sharp chances in scoring 18 off the first 41 balls he faced.
Smith subsequently showed the value of patience as things suddenly clicked and he hit two sixes in accelerating to 55 off 66 balls.