As the leaders of the South Group, Somerset emerge from the barrier and the showers
Somerset maintained their lead over the rest of South Group by winning their fourth straight game with a score of 154, which had always seemed like a manageable total on a seaming surface.
As squall showers increased in frequency on a chilly Canterbury night, Somerset preserved their composure well in the field.
On a muddy night when Somerset desperately needed a full bank of seamers, Ben Green missed some of Kent’s innings due to injury, but vitally, he recovered just in time to finish an outstanding all-around bowling performance.
Kent needed an additional 54 runs from 4.1 overs after the final recalculation, and Green finished with 3 for 19 in two overs, with the standout being a deceptively disguised yorker to bowl to George Linde.
As he crossed the rope and finished the catch, Matt Henry assisted him to another by keeping his feet steady enough on an oiled outfield to toss the ball up at long-off.
Kent had never really threatened Somerset’s seasoned seamers as they competed for the night’s delivery. Henry’s break-back attempt to dismiss Joe Denly came close, but Peter Siddle’s away-seamer that struck Daniel Bell-Drummond’s off stump arguably negated it. Until he created a way for Lewis Gregory and his off stump also flew, Sam Billings formed better than most.
During the game, Kent distributed free t-shirts to the fans, although on a chilly and rainy night, winter coats would have been a more appropriate gift. It was a convincing choice to have online coverage, but it cost £5.99.
However, Kent has become the first club to take a chance on what will undoubtedly be the inevitable result: they are charging for their in-house coverage of the Vitality Blast. Kent doesn’t have a reputation as one of county cricket’s natural innovators.
Financial considerations will undoubtedly lead to the adoption of Kent’s T20 experiment by others if the county cricket partnership with BBC radio commentary has been a mutually beneficial arrangement that has helped to promote the county game like never before.
They are an odd outlier since, according to Wisden Cricketers Almanack, in 2022, the third-least number of people watched their coverage among the counties, despite the fact that they had a dismal season in which they placed last in the South Group.
The expenditures have increased along with the quality of in-house coverage, and T20 is a different animal if free coverage of Championship cricket continues to be a highly effective loss-leader that it would be crazy to give up.
For a reasonable investment, it was possible to get professional coverage led by veteran broadcaster and former captain Dave Fulton, who knew how to keep home team favoritism in check. Away fans don’t need to ask for the vomit bag to watch Kent’s coverage.
That was undoubtedly the case for Somerset’s supporters as they witnessed yet another triumph. Somerset’s assistant coach, Shane Burger, emphasized the value of his team’s tenacious demeanor on the field.
“There was never a moan, there was always a mindset of trying to get out there and play cricket. I think many teams would try to get off the field rather than play. People were slipping over and the ball was wet but full credit to the guys. It just shows what you can do if you have the right mindset.”
It took some time for that toughness to emerge. Within 4.3 overs, Somerset’s three musketeers were all out for 40 runs. Tom Banton, Will Smeed, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore all died fast because they didn’t often appraise the situation—that task is typically assigned to others lower in the order, including Tom Lammonby, who is presently batting at No. 5—and instead died because they did.
Although Banton has had a strong start to the season, his attempt to smash Michael Hogan inside-out up the slope failed. His reputation has taken a beating over the past two years.
Until he failed with a blow to the ground, Joe Denly scored 20 off just one over for Kohler-Cadmore. Denly’s two overs cost 29 and, in retrospect, it appears that one opening over ought to have sufficed on such a night.
The failure of Smeed deserves more than a passing notice. Although everything indicates that he has an innate preference for the shorter game, his choice to choose an exclusively white-ball career last November, at the age of 21, signaled a change in times.
However, things have not gone as planned. Since his unbeaten 101 for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred in August, he has only managed a few 30s in 14 T20 matches, with more if you consider outings in Abu Dhabi and for Somerset’s 2nd XI. He was not purchased during the IPL auction.
Wes Agar beat Smeed on the drive and hit middle stump with a swing through the gate on the first ball following a rain break, resulting in Smeed’s fourth-ball nought. It was his fourth setback, and while someone will undoubtedly suffer soon, a lean run must weigh more heavily when making such a significant choice.
Due to Kane Richardson and George Linde’s withdrawal due to an undisclosed sickness, Agar’s stay at Kent has been extended for an additional two months as cover. As a result, he was given the choice to take it. Arshdeep Singh, an additional quick bowler from India, has red-ball cricket games scheduled for June and July as well.
With Adelaide Strikers, he won the Big Bash League, and his career-best 4 for 6 came in an interesting BBL encounter in December when Strikers dismissed Sydney Thunder for just 15 runs. Despite not having received an Australia cap, he has sufficient T20 experience. His 3 for 18 will work as a beginning.
The main reason Somerset got 154 was Lammonby retained 34 from 31. He was overcome by his first daring experience. He slipped outside off stump for a planned scoop as the “five overs left” bell rung in his brain. Grant Stewart cleverly followed him to force a catch at the wicket.
Jordan Cox once again confirmed the idea that he is a T20 outfielder to challenge anyone in the world during a sequence in which Roelof van der Merwe’s strong-arming against Hogan guided Somerset to a competitive score.
In some respects, it will be unfortunate if the day comes when he takes the gloves off. He turned a six and a four into a pair of twos by almost missing out on a spectacular relay catch with Denly and throwing himself to the ground once more later in the over. Those six runs would have been essential on numerous occasions. not this evening.