Somerset surge to another final
Somerset reached their second one-day final of the season with a 95-run victory over Essex in their Clydesdale Bank 40 last-four clash at Taunton.
The Sabres were superbly led by the bat of skipper Marcus Trescothick, who blazed 79 at the top of the order to set the foundation of their 312 for six.
It was a target that proved far beyond the reach of the visitors who lost Mark Pettini from the first ball of their chase before being bowled out for 217 in 29.3 overs.
Somerset, who were beaten by Hampshire in this year's Friends Provident t20 final, will meet Warwickshire Bears in next weekend’s Lord’s final after the Midlanders beat Yorkshire Carnegie in today’s other semi-final at Scarborough.
Somerset seamer Alfonso Thomas struck immediately in Essex’s chase when he had Pettini caught at mid-off by Mark Turner.
And things went from bad to worse for the visitors when they lost key men Alastair Cook and Ryan ten Doeschate with the score on 33.
Cook fell for 10 when Trescothick held onto a sharp chance at short extra-cover off Ben Phillips and, next ball, ten Doeschate was run out for 22 after a direct hit by James Hildreth.
Grant Flower and Matt Walker started to rebuild the Essex innings and it was the former who brought up the 50 in the eighth over with a lofted drive over Phillips’ head.
However, another needless run out undermined Essex’s efforts with the score on 88.
Flower clipped the ball off his legs to deep square-leg where Jos Buttler fired the ball in for wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter to remove the bails and catch Flower short of his ground attempting a second run.
Walker brought up the Essex 100 with a single to backward square off Murali Kartik in the 16th over.
After Essex took 17 off the 17th over, Walker drove Kartik to deep midwicket where Thomas bagged the catch to leave the visitors 139 for five.
Essex skipper James Foster struck the ball cleanly and brought up his own half-century and his side’s 200 with a lofted cover drive off Thomas in the 27th over.
But, in the same over, he went for another big drive and was caught inside the long-on boundary by Buttler for 58 off 38 balls.
It prompted a collapse of five wickets for just nine runs as the Essex chase ended suddenly.
Kartik accounted for Adam Wheater lbw for 36 as he tried a reverse sweep and, while Essex retained hope with 99 needed off the last 12 overs, their tail never threatened to show the application to achieve it.
Tony Palladino was run out after a good throw from Buttler at deep square-leg and two balls later Mark Turner had Chris Wright caught at fine-leg by Phillips.
Peter Trego then sewed up Somerset’s place in the final when he bowled David Masters.
After opting to bat first, Trescothick drove the second ball of the innings to the cover boundary, an exercise he repeated three balls later.
Trescothick hit the first six of the game in the next when he lofted Palladino over midwicket, before the bowler accounted for Kieswetter in his next over.
The Somerset captain continued to blitz the Essex attack and brought up his 35-ball 50 in the 10th over with a swept two off Danish Kaneria.
Trego hit 33 at just better than a run a ball and helped to add 81 in 12 overs with Trescothick before he gave a return catch to Kaneria with the score on 113.
Trescothick was on 79, from 62 balls, when Wright returned to the attack and bowled the former England man who was trying to steer the ball to third man.
Hildreth and Nick Compton stayed together to add 76 for the fourth wicket before Hildreth became Kaneria’s second victim when he hit the ball straight to Palladino at cover.
Compton was next to be dismissed with the total on 247 after scoring 55 off 64 balls.
Buttler hit 36 off 18 balls, which included three fours and two sixes, before Suppiah provided some late excitement with 42 off just 20 balls, including three sixes over long-on.