Despite Daniel Sams’ resolute performance, Matt Henry leads a valiant defense of 145 as Essex loses.
Essex 131 (Sams 45, Henry 4-24, Sodhi 3-22) defeated Somerset 145 (Dickson 53, Snater 3-13) by 14 runs.
With the help of another ruthless bowling effort under the Edgbaston lights, Somerset put their Finals Day heartbreak behind them and ended an 18-year quest for a second T20 championship. Going into the final versus Essex, Somerset had won 14 of its previous 16 games, but they didn’t make a mistake under pressure from the specter of seven past losses in the premier match in English T20. Somerset was forced to bat for the second straight game, and they eked out 145 all out from their 20 overs, thanks mainly to Sean Dickson’s skillfully constructed half-century. Then, with the help of a flying, one-handed catch from Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Matt Henry took the head off the Essex reply with a spell of 3 for 18. The New Zealander returned to end Daniel Sams’ bold bid to win the match. In doing so, they matched Leicestershire’s record from 2011 for the lowest score successfully defended in the championship game. On that occasion, Somerset was the loser. The South Group rabble-rousers, who only managed to advance to the knockout rounds with a six from the final ball of their campaign, faced Somerset’s winning machine in the final of cricket’s longest day, which had survived an awful forecast for the loss of just a few overs across two semifinals. Sams’ aggressive hitting kept the outcome in doubt even as the ninth wicket fell with 29 runs still needed, despite Essex’s best attempts to win a second championship. In addition to having finished second in this competition four times, Somerset, for whom Ish Sodhi claimed 3 for 22, they have had also left Edgbaston empty-handed the previous two seasons. They also achieved their goal in this instance, batting first in both the semifinal and final. The choruses of “Somerset, la-la-la!” could finally start when Kohler-Cadmore threw the ball overhead, and Player of the Match Henry was hugged by his captain, Lewis Gregory.
Powerplay blows traded
This season, Essex had the highest powerplay scoring rate but was also prone to dramatic meltdowns. On Finals Day, Somerset, who had already taken the most wickets in a Blast season, continued their impressive form by dismissing Surrey with 13 balls to spare. The beginning of Essex’s pursuit would include a serious altercation.
It was thrilling as Essex sped to 27 off its first 11 balls before losing four wickets in its next 17 deliveries. Adam Rossington smashed four fours before sending a tracer bullet to Kasey Aldridge at point. Aldridge did well to avoid damage, much alone holding on. After catching Dan Lawrence on the crease and dismissing Michael Pepper for a duck in his subsequent over, Robin Das’ effort to smash Craig Overton over the top smacked tamely into the hands of mid-on.
Sams mentioned before the game that Essex was trying to disprove the conventional wisdom in T20 that losing three wickets in the powerplay meant losing the match. They had succeeded in doing so by winning three games in the group stage. However, Essex had their job cut out for them, with Henry and Overton continuing to bowl unchanged for combined figures of 4 for 46.
The slim chance rests with Sams.
Essex stumbled to 71 for 5 at the midway point as a wicket for Gregory in his first over left them further behind the eight ball. The menace of Sams emerged when he mowed Aldridge over the shorter leg-side boundary from the City End to keep them hanging onto the asking rate after Paul Walter was eventually bowled for 26 by a tossed-up delivery from Sodhi.
There was no dramatic heist after Simon Harmer, who had to be 40 instead of 32, even though Sams had Somerset fans on edge. Somerset’s first T20 victory since 2005 was clinched when he was eventually dismissed for 45 off 26. Additionally, Somerset’s record-breaking season-long wicket total of 151 came from 17 games, making them the first team to bowl out both opponents on Finals Day.
Somerset’s big three kept quiet.
Essex needed to contain a strong Somerset lineup after deciding to chase. Despite Tom Banton being dropped off the first ball of the innings, Essex was able to finish them without too much damage, despite their top three having each scored more than 400 runs with strike rates between 150 and 180 going into Finals Day.
The bowler, Sams, was twice killed over the off-side arc by Will Smeed in the same over after Lawrence failed to hold on to a sharp opportunity above his head at backward point. Smeed dragged on against Shane Snater in the third over, halting Somerset’s early momentum. Banton audaciously lifted Sam Cook’s fifth ball over the keeper’s head for six.
As Somerset’s powerplay ended with a score of 46 for 1, Kohler-Cadmore hit two more goals off of Aaron Beard before slamming Cook into the Hollies for another resounding six. But after Banton stumbled while trying to execute a reverse slap off Snater to short third, the score had dropped to 54 for 3 when Kohler-Cadmore chopped on against Matt Critchley. Banton, Smeed, and Kohler-Cadmore made 48 out of 44 combined.
Critch catch turns match?
Gregory was not dismissed for what would have been a golden duck in the 12th over, which was crucial to Somerset’s innings. Critchley believed he had his fingers under the ball when crouching for a low return catch, but third umpire Nigel Llong determined it had not been caught cleanly. Somerset would have been 69 for 5 if it had been given, but Gregory and Dickson worked together for a stand of 45 in 28 balls to put their team back in the game.
Dickson, whose underappreciated 30 off 22 against Surrey had been crucial, started to play another clever knock in the middle order. Before hitting his first boundary, he had 12 off of 13; he then collected a pair of fours in Harmer’s lone over and two more off back-to-back balls in Critchley’s subsequent over.
Gregory top-edged a short ball to be caught and bowled, but Snater’s return to bowl out led to another significant breakthrough. Essex pushed once more to dismiss Ben Green and Overton cheaply, the latter via Beard’s direct shot from deep square leg. In the last over, Dickson reached fifty off just 33 balls, but as Somerset’s innings dragged on, he gloved Walter’s short ball behind. However, Somerset’s onslaught was more than competitive after runs were recorded.
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