Somerset lose final-over thriller despite great knock from Buttler
Jos Buttler hit an excellent 67 in front of England one-day supremo Ashley Giles – but Somerset were beaten by one wicket by Glamorgan in an incredible YB40 game at Cardiff.
At one stage, Glamorgan were 120-1 in reply to Somerset’s 222-8 – but they collapsed to 215-9 as Somerset’s bowlers fought back bravely.
Glamorgan needed one run off the final over to win – with Somerset needing one wicket for victory – but, after two dot balls from Craig Meschede, Simon Jones hit one over the top for four to win the game.
Defeat, which had looked inevitable for much of the match, has ceded the advantage in Group C to the Welsh county, who lost five wickets for 20 runs in a crazy 25-ball spell as Somerset sensed an unlikely victory.
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Somerset had looked dead and buried at 64-4 in their own innings, before Buttler and Nick Compton (50) put on 116 to steer them toward a more respectable 222-8.
But, with batting seemingly becoming easier as the match went on, the hosts raced to 120-1 inside 19 overs – only for Somerset’s bowlers, led by Steve Kirby’s 3-34, to fight back.
The idea of Somerset even getting to within a sniff of Glamorgan seemed ludicrous as Mark Wallace (70) and Chris Cooke (44) put on 119 for the second wicket in 17 overs. But their batsmen fell like dominoes as Somerset looked to protect their cushion at the top of Group C.
In the end, tailender Jones held his nerve and hit a boundary to win the match with three balls to spare. As a result, Glamorgan are now only two points adrift of Somerset in Group C – with two games in hand.
Michael Hogan had taken 4-34 as Somerset were limited to 222-8 – and that they even got that many was down to the efforts of two players who may not be with the county next season.
Buttler, who was today named in England Lions team to face Australia in a two-day game at Northampton this weekend, hit seven fours and two sixes in his 45-ball knock – but still ended up on the losing side despite a late rally from Somerset’s bowlers.
The visitors, not helped by skipper Marcus Trescothick’s fourth-ball duck, found it very difficult to score runs early on and, after the eight-over power-play had reached only 22-2.
Trescothick was bowled as he played all around a full length delivery from the hugely impressive Hogan, before, six overs later, man of the moment Craig Kieswetter was removed by the same bowler.
Kieswetter went into the match on the back of scores of 61, 80, 76, 70 not out and 126 not out in his last five limited-over knocks – but managed only 4 this time, held by Ben Wright at extra cover attempting a lofted drive.
His exit saw Somerset falter to 19-2 – and it was not long before Alviro Petersen, in his penultimate knock for the county, was bowled by Jones for 10. The former Glamorgan captain never looked comfortable during his 24-ball stay – and lost his off-stump to a good length ball that came back in.
Pete Trego had offered Somerset some stability, even as the rest of the top-order departed around him, but the all-rounder – perhaps as a result of his frustration – eventually hit out and was caught on the boundary looking for a six over long-off.
Dean Cosker, so often a thorn in Somerset’s side, was the man to dismiss Trego – for 42, scored from 50 balls – bringing Buttler to the middle with 23 overs left in the innings.
Tasked with a rescue mission, he and Compton batted sensibly initially, before building toward a greater sense of urgency as Buttler started to open up. He hit sixes off Jim Allenby and Hogan – whose figures went from 2-7 after five overs to 3-22 after six – reaching his fifty from 39 balls.
Compton followed suit, before being bowled by a low full toss from Hogan for exactly 50 after the Australian had been hit for two fours and six by Buttler.
Meschede joined Buttler in the middle and was dropped on 4 by Cooke at long-off off the bowling of Jones, who ended the over with key wicket of Buttler. He was lbw to a yorker for 67, in a knock that will no doubt have impressed the watching Giles.
Adam Dibble played a tidy cameo, scoring 15 from 10 balls – including a scoop for four off Hogan – before becoming the seamer’s fourth victim when he was bowled by a yorker.
Meschede was run out in the final over, going for a third run, but Jamie Overton hit 9 not out from three balls to at least carry Somerset to a target that had looked beyond them when they were 75-4 at the halfway point.
However, even 222 did not look as if it was much of a score on a wicket that appeared to become easier for batting as the game wore on – and with Somerset missing the injured Alfonso Thomas (heel).
Somerset made an early breakthrough when Kirby had Gareth Rees lbw, playing across the line, for 1 in the second over. At that stage, it was 1-1 – but scoring became easier for the hosts and they had reached 55-1 after seven overs.
Wallace and Cooke appeared to have taken the game away from Somerset in the first half of Glamorgan’s innings, before Wallace eventually edged Meschede behind for 70, scored from 57 balls.
Glamorgan kept the scoreboard ticking over, even if they lost further wickets, with Cooke bowled by Kirby for 44 to one that jagged back and clipped his off-stump, while Allenby fell to a wonderful catch from Dibble at midwicket – off Overton – for 18.
But the experienced Marcus North and Murray Goodwin – with a combined age of 74 – steadied the ship, only for North to get the thinnest of edges behind off Meschede for 38. Wright was caught behind off Kirby for 2 – and when Goodwin was the fourth player to be caught by Kieswetter, off Dibble for 22, Somerset sensed a shock victory.
That belief only increased when Cosker picked out Buttler in the deep off Overton without scoring – and when Wagg was bowled by Dibble for 7. That saw Glamorgan, who had been 195-4, fall to 215-9 – still needing eight runs to win.
Hogan carried them to within touching distance when he hit Kirby for four. And, after Dibble sent down the penultimate over for three, leaving the match tied, Jones became the unlikely boundary hero to win a frenetic match for the hosts with three balls to spare.