Somerset see off Steelbacks to keep Blast hopes alive

Babar Azam hits out for Somerset in the Vitality Blast (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Babar Azam hits out for Somerset in the Vitality Blast (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Somerset kept alive their hopes of reaching the Vitality Blast quarter-finals with a seven-wicket Central Group win over Northamptonshire at Taunton.

The visitors could post only 140 for nine after winning the toss, despite being given solid base by Josh Cobb (49) and Paul Stirling (25).

Eighteen-year-old Somerset spinner Lewis Goldsworthy claimed two for 21 on his second T20 appearance.

In reply, Somerset cruised to 146 for three, with two overs to spare as Steve Davies contributed 45, before Tom Lammonby (43 not out) and Tom Abell (42 not out) finished the task.

Northamptonshire looked well placed on 82 for two but the momentum of the game changed after Stirling holed out to deep extra cover.

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Richard Levi fell to Craig Overton from only the eighth ball of the match but Stirling hit Lewis Gregory for six over deep square and then cleared the ropes over long-on as 14 came from the ninth over.

Following the Ireland opener’s dismissal, the boundaries dried up as Goldsworthy, Max Waller and Roelof van der Merwe shared spin duties to good effect.

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Adam Rossington smacked a Waller long-hop straight to Overton at long-on and Cobb’s 41-ball knock ended when he was caught at deep mid-wicket by a tumbling Van der Merwe off Goldsworthy.

Alex Wakeley was caught at mid-off to give Ollie Sale a wicket and Overton’s direct hit ran out Luke Procter for 19 as he responded to Saif Zaib’s call for a quick single.

Graeme White and Ben Sanderson also fell cheaply and, with just 58 runs off the last 10 overs, Northants looked well short of a competitive total.

So it turned out, although Babar Azam’s disappointing sequence of scores at Taunton continued when he fell lbw to Nathan Buck for four in the third over of Somerset’s reply.

Teenager Will Smeed also fell cheaply to Sanderson but Davies looked in good touch from the start and he and Abell were able to stick largely to textbook shots in a well-paced stand of 44.

Davies fell leg-before to Procter but Abell and Lammonby were content to milk the spinners as they closed in on a modest target.

Lammonby hit the first six of the innings in the 16th over and followed up with another maximum off Sanderson before ending the game by clearing the ropes again off the final ball of the 18th over.

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