More woe for Somerset as Hampshire progress
Hampshire booked their place in the domestic Twenty20 final for the second time in three seasons and inflicted further pain on Somerset with a comfortable six-wicket victory in the second Friends Life t20 semi-final at the SWALEC Stadium.
Runners-up for the past three years, Marcus Trescothick’s side were always up against it after slipping to 58 for five upon losing the toss.
Craig Kieswetter carried his bat for 63 to lead a recovery of sorts that saw Somerset post 125 for six, yet their total was duly overhauled with an over to spare.
Simon Katich and Sean Ervine, who had earlier impressed with the ball, finished unbeaten on 32 and 34 respectively as Hampshire - the 2010 champions - secured a meeting with Yorkshire, 36-run victors over Sussex in the day’s opening semi-final.
Somerset skipper Marcus Trescothick said: "It is always disappointing because we put such a lot of hard work in to make it to this great day.
"You prepare for these moments, but we have just not got it right on the day. We have to work out how to pick ourselves up.
"We have been good at bouncing back and I do not see this year being any different. We do not have much time; we've got to just get back up and on with the game."
His opposite number Dimitri Mascarenhas added: "We produced a good all-round bowling performance.
"I think we gave a little too many away at the end, but that can happen and to restrict a class side like that to 125 was an amazing effort."
Scott Styris made early inroads for the Sharks this morning, claiming wickets in each of his first three overs, and Hampshire also benefited from some canny medium-pace bowling on a seamer-friendly pitch.
Richard Levi and Trescothick both fell victim to Mascarenhas, who displayed admirable accuracy up front en route to figures of 2-11 from four overs.
James Hildreth - Somerset’s leading run-scorer in the competition - was then bowled round his legs by Danny Briggs, before Ervine accounted for Jos Buttler and Peter Trego with deliveries that nipped back appreciably.
Kieswetter did his best to accelerate, striking five fours and a six into the River Taff off Liam Dawson and Somerset struck at regular intervals with the ball to bring the game back to life.
A flying catch from Buttler at midwicket enabled Steve Kirby to dismiss Jimmy Adams, while James Vince paid for an ugly swipe across the line when he was bowled by leg-spinner Max Waller.
Michael Carberry then departed for 33 following a mix-up between the wickets with Neil McKenzie, who was lbw advancing to Lewis Gregory.
Ultimately, the experience of Katich and Ervine proved decisive; the duo remained calm and shared an unbroken partnership of 54 in 40 balls to see the Royals home with relative comfort.
5:20pm END OF INNINGS – Hampshire 126/4; Ervine 34, Katich 32 – HAMPSHIRE WIN BY SIX WICKETS! – Ervine sweeps to the boundary as 11 come from Waller’s last over, with Hampshire then completing victory in the penultimate set of six when Katich clips down the ground for two. Easy stuff in the end.
5:08pm - Trescothick brings on Thomas for the 17th over, clearly hoping to take the required run-rate beyond 10 an over. Katich has other ideas, however, and hits cleanly down the ground for four before Ervine find the midwicket fence. These two look remarkably comfortable; Somerset need something special to claim an unlikely victory now, with Hampshire requiring 21 from 18 balls.
5pm - A missed chance for Somerset as, after a Richard Levi misfield gives Ervine four, Buttler narrowly spurns an opportunity to run the left-hander out. The Zimbabwean responds with a glorious clip through midwicket off Kirby – that could prove a decisive period.
4:51pm – WICKET! McKenzie lbw Gregory 10; Ham 72/4 (12.2 overs) – Maybe they are not so comfortable after all. Mckenzie shuffles across his stumps and is trapped plumb in front by Gregory. Sean Ervine, a star with the ball, comes in.
4:47pm - A little luck for Hampshire, which Somerset rarely enjoyed in their innings, as Simon Katich inside edges Lewis Gregory narrowly past the stumps for four. Waller, meanwhile, continues to impress and pile on the pressure with an array of variations. Hampshire are still favourites, however, with McKenzie and Simon Katich looking increasingly assured.
4:37pm – WICKET! Carberry run out 33; Ham 52/3 (8.3 overs) – That is the last thing Hampshire needed. As Somerset apply the squeeze, Neil McKenzie starts to set off for a single before sending back Carberry, who is well short of his ground as Kieswetter relays to Peter Trego to finish the job. We certainly do have a game on now!
4:29pm – WICKET! Vince b Waller 7; Ham 44/2 (7.3 overs) – With Hampshire looking relatively comfortable, Marcus Trescothick turns to Max Waller, who beats Carberry all ends up first ball. The leg-spinner then gets a much-needed breakthrough, skidding one through James Vince’s attempted pull. Do we have a game on?
4:20pm – WICKET! Adams b Kirby c Buttler 8; Ham 22/1 (5 overs) – A much-needed breakthrough for Somerset, which comes about via a fine catch from Jos Buttler. After clipping excellently over square-leg for four, Adams attempts to hit Steve Kirby over midwicket, where Buttler dives and snaffles a difficult chance.
4:15pm - This is all too easy for Carberry and Jimmy Adams, who are knocking it around comfortably at the moment. The former injects a little life into proceedings with a glorious cut over point before fortuitously edging between the wicketkeeper’s legs for another boundary.
4:03pm – DROPPED CATCH! - If Somerset are going to win, every chance needs to be taken. The first one has been shelled, with Michael Carberry nicking Alfonso Thomas to Craig Kieswetter, who can only get a finger on it. The opener profits from his fortune later in the over, clipping to the fine-leg fence before another edge, this time along the ground, goes through third man.
3:59pm - The players are back on. There's hardly time to breathe. Anyway, Hampshire need only 126 to win and set up a final against Yorkshire; they should do it, but you just never know.
3:50pm – END OF INNINGS – Somerset 125/6; Kieswetter 61 not out - Excellent last over from Wood, who Kieswetter and Arul Suppiah struggle to get away. That is until the former falls over before somehow laying enough bat on ball to carve over point. Even the seamer has a little laugh to himself, with his smile becoming broader as he limits Kieswetter to a two off the final delivery. Cannot help but think Somerset have not got enough, but we'll soon see.
3:43pm – FIFTY! Kieswetter (51b 3x4 1x6) – Fine stuff from Kieswetter, who damages Ervine’s figures. A clip over square-leg heralds his half-century, after which he produces an outstanding paddle sweep for another four. Simon Katich then drops the half-centurion after the ball comes down from orbit. Wow, that ball went high.
3:36pm – WICKET! Gregory run out 9; Som 90/6 (16.4 overs) - That’s the last thing Somerset needed. Just when they wanted to step on the accelerator, Gregory is run out attempting an ambitious second as Wood whips off the bails. Hampshire well on top here.
3:29pm - The dry spell is over for Kieswetter, who launches – and I mean launches – Dawson out of the ground and into the River Taff. Buoyed, the England wicketkeeper pulls through midwicket before guiding to the third-man fence off Ervine in the next. Fine start, too, for Lewis Gregory, who hits over mid-on for another four later in the over.
3:21pm – WICKET! Trego lbw Ervine 1; Som 58/5 (12.3 overs) - This is quite excellent stuff from Ervine, the unlikely bowling hero. He once again finds prodigious movement in and traps Peter Trego plumb in front with one that keeps low. Comical scenes follow as the two collide, leaving Ervine on the floor. It’s going to take more than that to stop the Zimbabwean. At the other end, Kieswetter – 24 not out from 33 balls – watches on having not yet hit a boundary.
3:11pm – WICKET! Buttler b Ervine 16; Som 54/4 (10.3 overs) – Two years ago, Buttler announced himself as one to watch with a quite brilliant half-century at the Rose Bowl in a t20 semi-final against Nottinghamshire. He is not able to repeat the trick today, though. After cutting Chris Wood through cover for four, the youngster inside edges Sean Ervine - who found considerable seam movement - on to off stump.
3:04pm - Mascarenhas ends a quite sensational spell of 4-0-11-2. The pressure he has created is making Somerset twitchy, illustrated by Kieswetter giving Briggs the charge, which results in a missed stumping from the usually excellent Michael Bates. Buttler has no such problems later in the over, however, as he drives the spinner over cover for six. Beautiful shot.
2:56pm – WICKET! Hildreth b Briggs; Som 30/3 (6.2 overs) – Excellent stuff from Hampshire, who are putting the squeeze on Somerset. And there’s another wicket as the introduction of Danny Briggs pays dividends. James Hildreth attempts a conventional sweep, but misses and is bowled around his legs. Kieswetter and Jos Buttler need to rebuild now; Mascarenhas is bringing fielders up to try and force a reckless shot.
2:46pm – WICKET! Trescothick b Mascarenhas 12; Som 22/2 (3.3 overs) - There will be no real fireworks from Trescothick today! Royals skipper Mascarenhas wins the battle of the veterans as his opposite number drags on chasing a wide one.
2:44pm - Magical stuff from Trescothick; there are few players in the world who make batting look so easy. The Somerset captain skips down the track and effortlessly clips Dawson over mid-on for six. The left-arm spinner almost gets instantaneous revenge as he raps the left-hander, sweeping, on the pad – only for the umpire to deliver a not-out verdict. That was a close one.
2:37pm - WICKET! Levi b Mascarenhas c Katich 1; Som 6/1 (1.1 overs) - Poor shot from overseas opener Richard Levi. Dimitri Mascarenhas, the epitome of a wily operator, gets a wicket with his first ball as the South African hits to Simon Katich at mid-on. Marcus Trescothick enters to a loud ovation from the Somerset contingent.
2:34pm - Liam Dawson is given the first over by Hampshire and begins with a half-tracker that Craig Kieswetter fails to put away. A solid opening set of six in the end, with just six runs coming off it.
2:37pm - Hampshire: Jimmy Adams, Michael Carberry, James Vince, Neil McKenzie, Simon Katich, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Dimitri Mascarenhas (captain), Chris Wood, Michael Bates (wicketkeeper), Danny Briggs.
Somerset: Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Richard Levi, Marcus Trescothick (captain), James Hildreth, Jos Buttler, Peter Trego, Lewis Gregory, Arul Suppiah, Alfonso Thomas, Max Waller, Steve Kirby.
2:22pm - We can only hope, it has to be said, the action is as thrilling as the much-anticipated mascot race. Pinky the Panther, of Middlesex, appeared certain to win, only to pay the price for goading home favourite Dewi the Dragon - who found unexpected acceleration to take the prize. Fine work!
2:18pm - The second last-four clash promises to be a thrilling encounter. The sides have met at the last two finals days, incredibly tying both encounters. Hampshire came out on top by virtue of losing fewer wickets in the final two years ago, while Somerset emerged victorious in a super over in last year's semi-final. Should be a cracker!
2:15pm - HAMPSHIRE WIN TOSS AND BOWL - Hello and welcome to our coverage of the second Friends Life t20 semi-final at the SWALEC Stadium. Yorkshire have just beaten Sussex by 36 runs and now Hampshire and Somerset will battle it out for the other place in the final. Marcus Trescothick has just called incorrectly at the toss and Somerset have been asked to bat by Dimitri Mascarenhas.