Somerset’s bowlers shared the wickets around their seam attack last night as they tore through Hampshire’s top order like Freddie Krueger on a Nightmare on Elm Street killing spree. Josh Davey was the pick of the Somerset bowlers, taking 3-21 as the hosts stumbled to 123 at the Ageas Bowl.
Only James Fuller, with a boundary laden 42 runs off 28 balls, offered any resistance as The Hawks dismal start to the competition continued.
With charcoal clouds gathering in the Hampshire skies, Somerset won the toss and elected to send their hosts into bat. This would prove to be a shrewd decision by the Somerset captain, Tom Abell.
After a slow first over, Aneurin Donald (1) tried to pick up the pace but only succeeded in holing out to Will Smeed at deep mid-wicket off the first ball of the second over.
Ben McDermott (1) followed in similar fashion to Donald towards the end of the third over with Smeed taking another good catch on the boundary in difficult conditions.
The hybrid pitch may have played a part in the wicket of Joe Weatherley (16) who chipped one to mid-on where Marchant de Lange took a straight forward catch. It was difficult to determine if the ball hadn’t come on to Weatherley’s bat off the pitch or Gregory had deliberately bowled a slower one. Either way, the result was the same.
Hampshire’s top order was totally obliterated with the hosts reduced to 57-5 at the half-way point before James Fuller (42) restored a little dignity.
Some sublime Somerset fielding compounded Hampshire’s misery. Tom Abell dismissed James Vince (16) with a brilliant over the shoulder catch when the Hampshire captain tried to hit one over the infield. Then, with the Hampshire innings in its final throes, Tom Lammonby spectacularly palmed a big hit from Chris Wood (10) back to Will Smeed on the boundary.
Smead opened the batting smartly for Somerset alongside Tom Banton. Continuing his fine form from Sunday, Smeed flashed to an eye-catching 22 runs off just 15 balls.
At 46-0 Banton (20) edged Wood to the keeper but the damage – as far as Hampshire were concerned – had already been done.
Rilee Rossouw inflicted further pain on his former county with some classy boundaries before the South African was dismissed for 26 off Brad Wheal.
The bowl of the night undoubtably rests with Mason Crane whose googly breached Abell’s (7) defence and crashed into the stumps.
Tom Lammonby (33) hit two fours and a massive six in a destructive fifteenth over, the left-handed all-rounder taking the visitors to within three runs of victory before being dismissed by Nathan Ellis.
Inevitably, Ben Green (7 not out) completed the job just two balls later, with 25 balls to spare, as Somerset replaced Middlesex at the top of the group on net run rate.
Somerset, last year’s beaten finalists, look destined to go deep in the competition once more this season. Hampshire, on the other hand, prop up the group and look a team in disarray.