Craig Overton stars as Somerset hand Hampshire vengeful defeat
Somerset’s eight-wicket Vitality Blast victory over the defending champion Hampshire Hawks at sun-drenched Taunton was sweet retribution for them. This was thanks in large part to seamers Craig Overton and Matt Henry.
The hosts, who lost to the same opponents in last season’s semifinals, dominated early on after winning the toss. Overton took 3 for 8 from four overs and Henry took 2 for 19 from three, leaving the Hawks at 27 for 5.
With Ben Green and Lewis Gregory both collecting three for eleven and two for thirteen, respectively, and Overton adding four catches to his heroics with the ball, the Blast champions were bowled out for 74, their lowest-ever T20 total, in 16.1 overs.
The Somerset seamers put on a brutal show, supported by some incredibly accurate fielding. In response, the hosts easily reached 74 for 2 in just 9.3 overs thanks to Tom Banton, who smashed 40 off 24 balls.
When the Hawks innings began in front of a crowded house, Overton and Henry both maintained outstanding line and length, as if they were trying to surpass one another.
Sam McDermott was out on the final ball of Overton’s opening over when Tom Kohler-Cadmore at slip caught him two-handed to his left.
When Henry made his first delivery, he bowled James Vince between bat and pad with a ball that nipped back. At that point, the score was 9 for 2. In the fourth over, the New Zealand Test bowler made it 12 for 3 by having Joe Weatherly caught at mid-on by Overton off a skyer.
At 26 for 3 at the conclusion of the six-over powerplay, the Hawks were in chaos. When Overton caught Tom Priest behind while he was attempting to retrieve a short ball, their situation got worse.
In the same over, Overton claimed his third victim when Toby Albert was also caught by wicketkeeper Banton as he pushed at a wide delivery. Albert had hit Henry for a six, but the Hawks’ rare act of resistance came as Overton bowled his allowed four overs straight through from the River End while producing 17 dot balls.
Somerset captain Tom Abell, who was rightfully proud of his initial assault, did not make a change until the eighth over, when Peter Siddle took Henry’s place.
As Hampshire briefly showed signs of comeback, Ross Whiteley smashed fours off consecutive balls from Gregory and Liam Dawson pulled a six off of Green.
However, after contributing to the total reaching 57, Dawson was out to another Overton catch, this time at fine leg from a scoop, and Scott Currie was bowled by Gregory in the same Gregory over, the 12th of the innings, after a bottom edged pull shot.
Whiteley had made good touch with a Green full toss and had reached his team’s highest score of 18 when Kohler-Cadmore, diving forward at long-off, captured him.
The Hawks were in trouble at 61 for 8. Green completed the slaughter by having Nathan Ellis, who had taken 13 off Henry’s final over, caught at long-on by the same fielder. Chris Wood was pouched by the diving Overton at mid-off off Green.
Banton quickly indicated his intentions to finish the game early by clearing the ropes with a ramp shot off Wood in the third over. Somerset’s big-hitting batting lineup were never expected to be troubled chasing such a small total.
The England T20 international added another boundary thanks to a scoop from Ellis, which was followed by the following ball by a clip through the leg side for four. Will Smeed was caught at short third man for five scores in the same over, but Somerset was comfortably up at 37 for one down by the end of their power play.
Before being stumped in the same over while chasing a wide one, Banton hit another six over midwicket off Dawson. By the time Kohler-Cadmore (18 not out) got going by slamming the spinner over wide long-on for a maximum, the result was already clear.