Suppiah steers Somerset into final
Arul Suppiah hit a fluent half-century as Somerset reached the Clydesdale Bank 40 final for the second successive year, beating Durham by 39 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method at Taunton.
The visitors were bowled out for 219 after winning the toss, skipper Dale Benkenstein bolstering a modest total with 82 while Ian Blackwell made 41 and Scott Borthwick 32. Steve Kirby was the most successful Somerset bowler with 3-31.
Somerset’s reply was given a flying start by Suppiah, who made 57, and Chris Jones, with 33, as they put on 78 in less than 11 overs.
Peter Trego was unbeaten on 40 when rain brought a premature end with the hosts 165 for three off 27 overs and well ahead of the required rate.
Somerset will travel to Lord's on September 17 to meet Surrey, who thumped Sussex by 71 runs in a game reduced to 24 overs a side at the Kia Oval.
Somerset were superior in all departments today, despite being weakened by the absence of Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton through injury and Craig Kieswetter, who was away with the England one-day squad.
Jones set the tone for a sharp Somerset fielding display by running out Mark Stoneman with a direct hit at the non-striker’s end as the opener attempted a quick single to mid-off.
Gordon Muchall fell leg before to Kirby for a duck, Phil Mustard, having looked in the mood to repair the early damage, pulled Trego straight to Craig Meschede at deep square-leg and two balls later Paul Collingwood was held low down by Murali Kartik at short midwicket.
Former Somerset favourite Blackwell therefore walked out to a warm reception with his team 44 for four.
He and Benkenstein were forced to be watchful, but Blackwell still hit a six and five fours before being caught at deep midwicket by Meschede off Kartik attempting another big hit.
Gareth Breese fell first ball, well taken low down by James Hildreth at midwicket off Meschede, but Benkenstein, who was dropped before he had scored by Kartik at slip off Meschede, reached a half-century at exactly a run a ball.
Lewis Gregory’s throw from long-off beat his attempt for a second run and from 201 for seven Durham’s tail quickly folded to Kirby and Alfonso Thomas, whose seven overs cost just 26 runs.
With little grass on what looked a good batting pitch, Somerset were strong favourites at the halfway stage. Suppiah played beautifully for a 34-ball half-century, while academy product Jones filled the not inconsiderable boots of Trescothick with aplomb, scoring his runs off 38 deliveries.
When they were dismissed Trego made sure there was no way back for Durham, hitting five fours in a responsible 50-ball innings.