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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
David Charlesworth

Somerset beat Surrey to set up Vitality Blast final with Essex

PA Wire

Craig Overton, Matt Henry and Ben Green took three wickets apiece as Somerset’s disciplined bowlers defended 143 to down Surrey by 24 runs and join Essex in the Vitality Blast final.

Sean Abbott’s four for 23 restricted Somerset to 142 for seven in a second semi-final reduced to 19 overs per side at Edgbaston due to rain, with Sean Dickson’s unbeaten 30 off 22 balls the top score.

It proved ample as while Surrey kept the run-rate from spiralling, they were unable to stitch together a partnership as Somerset’s bowlers, led by their seam trio, kept making incisive breakthroughs.

Tom Curran – who bowled for the first time in the competition on Saturday afternoon, having played exclusively as a batter up to now because of a stress fracture in his lower back suffered ahead of the domestic campaign – top-scored for Surrey with 22 off 15 balls.

Jason Roy (13), Jamie Smith (19), Jamie Overton (11) and Chris Jordan (16) were the only other Surrey batters to reach double figures as they were all out for 118 with 13 balls of their innings unused.

Somerset, meanwhile, can look forward to a showpiece contest against Essex, who earlier pipped defending champions Hampshire by five wickets with three balls to spare in a rain-reduced encounter.

A stop-start day because of the inclement weather led to a delayed start, after Surrey had won the toss, knocking off an over ahead of the teams stepping out.

When they did, Tom Banton edged Sam Curran in-between wicketkeeper and slip while Gus Atkinson gave Will Smeed the hurry-up, albeit conceding six off a top-edged hook, as both openers rode their luck.

The pair put on 38 in four overs but Smeed departed for 21 when a flat-footed waft took a thin outside edge and while Banton ramped Atkinson for six, he was gone next ball in near-identical circumstances to his opening partner, with Surrey successful in overturning on-field decisions in both cases.

Surrey eschewed a spinner in the middle overs, with Atkinson and Abbott’s skiddy pace causing problems, with the subtle change of pace of the Curran brothers and captain Jordan difficult to get away.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell for 11 after getting a leading edge off Abbott to point, Tom Abell made 15 before being castled by Sam Curran’s back-of-the-hand slower ball while Somerset captain Lewis Gregory fell to opposite number Jordan but only after a fantastic catch from leaping wicketkeeper Jamie Smith.

While Sean Dickson carved Tom Curran for six after the seamer appeared to lose his run-up in an over that yielded 16, it proved to be a false dawn. Just 34 runs came off the last five overs with no boundaries in the final three, which seemed to leave Somerset with a below-par total at halfway.

However, Craig Overton and Matt Henry breathed fresh life into the contest as Surrey’s danger trio Laurie Evans, Will Jacks and Roy were all back in the pavilion after the first five overs.

Overton bowled Evans through the gate with the fourth ball of the reply and then returned to snare opener Jacks, who made just nine off 13 deliveries before holing out. In between those dismissals, Roy’s attempted flick looped to square leg to get Henry in the wickets column.

Sam Curran and Smith offered outfield catches as Green, this year’s leading wicket-taker, swelled his tally, and while Jamie Overton briefly bristled, he was pouched by his jubilant twin at long-on as Surrey slumped to 68 for six after 11 overs.

While Jordan belted a couple of sixes, when both he and Tom Curran perished to catches in the deep the writing was on the wall for Surrey, who were all out after 16.5 overs.

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