Recent Match Report – Somerset vs Derbyshire 4th Quarter-Final 2022

Recent Match Report - Somerset vs Derbyshire 4th Quarter-Final 2022

Somerset 265 for 5 (Rossouw 93, Banton 73) beat Derbyshire 74 (Siddle 3-10, Green 3-17) by 191 runs

“Carnage,” was how Rilee Rossouw described it and he was not exaggerating. It was a perfect night for batting at Taunton – a glinting summer’s evening, an inviting batting pitch and a Derbyshire bowling attack that ultimately found this quarter-final all too much. Somerset imposed the highest score in T20 Blast history on a night that will warm West Country hearts for many years to come. They are back in Finals Day, and just to rub it in their 191-run was the biggest victory margin too.

Somerset struck 265 for 5, surpassing Birmingham’s 261 for 2, made against Nottinghamshire only three weeks ago. Eighteen sixes rained into a jubilant crowd. A hot air balloon sailing close to the ground would have been best advised not to lose altitude to take a closer look.

Derbyshire have never successfully chased 200, so 266 was a bit of an ask. They capsized for 74, not a single six in response, although plenty fell short, their thoughts turning in on themselves long before they began the journey home. Their North Group campaign was worthy of respect as they drew every ounce of ability out of themselves but this could hardly have been a more horrific night.

Derbyshire’s head coach, Mickey Arthur, did not mince his words. “It was embarrassing,” he said. “We are not happy with simply reaching quarter-finals and tonight we didn’t execute our skills. We were tentative, didn’t field well and didn’t nail our skills with the ball, with the exception of George Scrimshaw, who was outstanding. It was very disappointing because I felt we bottled it.”

Rossouw’s 93 off 36 balls was also on course to become one of the fastest T20 hundreds in Blast history until Scrimshaw had him caught, pulling, at deep midwicket. One damning statistic then that Derbyshire managed to avoid. Scrimshaw has been impressive enough this season to win an England Lions call and his reputation will be enhanced by his return of 2 for 16 while all around him was bedlam. Mattie McKiernan’s leg-spin had a less rewarding night: his figures of 4-0-82-0 were the most expensive in the history of T20 cricket.

McKiernan’s fate was sealed during a soul-destroying 15th over of the innings in which he conceded 36, comprising five sixes, a four and two no balls courtesy of a googly that landed off the cut strip. At least this only ranked as third in the all-time over of gloom – James Fuller once went for 38 for Gloucestershire and conceded 12 before he had bowled a legal delivery. If it is any consolation for McKiernan, Fuller, now at Hampshire, has been one of this season’s stand-out performers. It is possible to come back from this.

All of the runs off the bat in that over fell to Rossouw, who repeatedly found the ball in his arc and dealt with it as he has all season. He now has 600 runs, the best return in Somerset’s history, and this season second only to Hampshire’s James Vince, at an outlandish strike rate of 197.36

All Derbyshire’s bowlers, Scrimshaw apart, missed their lengths as they found Taunton, a land that breeds domineering young batters, beyond their comprehension. It was also a night when Tom Banton, who was regarded as one of T0’s hottest properties the other side of Covid-19, reminded everybody what all the fuss was about. He took 19 off McKiernan’s first over and, later in his innings, successive sixes against Alex Hughes even left the umpire, Neil Mallender, mopping his brow. Hughes fooled him with a slower ball as he departed for 73 from 41. But he should have fallen to Mark Watt at backward point on 29, Ben Aitchison the culprit.

Somerset’s power game had been locked on for most of the night, but when Tom Lammonby took 24 from his first five balls, Aitchison the bowler to suffer, the highest team score hovered into view. Hughes’ wide half-volley, slapped straight for six in the final over, duly achieved it.

This all said, How did Somerset get to 49 from five overs without losing a wicket? That they did so as good as settled the match. For Will Smeed, this was a learning night. Perhaps the most painful learning night of his career. He is one of the most exciting young power hitters in the game. But if he ever needed reminding that his prowess is narrow – he has yet to make a four-day debut – Scrimshaw provided it as he bowled the opening over for the first time in his career and exposed Smeed’s limitations.

Scrimshaw is tall and gangly, and is modelling a slightly villainous moustache to develop an air of menace. He bowled fast and short on a pitch with plenty of bounce for the new ball, his line awry at times but his potential clear to see. Smeed clothed his fourth ball so badly it failed to reach mid-on and jabbed at short balls without making contact. He was bruised, physically and mentally. He is often the darling of Taunton on T20 nights like this, but it told him of the challenges ahead to reach the top level.

Surprisingly, Scrimshaw was not given a second over. It felt as if Derbyshire were sticking to pre-match plans for how they would negotiate the powerplay. It would have taken a captain sure of his instincts to change tack and the captain until now, Shan Masood, had been called up by Pakistan.

Derbyshire’s reply malfunctioned from the outset, Somerset needing to do nothing out of the ordinary. They were 42 for 4 after the powerplay, three of them to Peter Siddle. Luis Reece was unfortunate to pick out the fielder at 45; du Plooy, struck on the funny bone, first ball, was dismissed as he charged at his second; and Hilton Cartwright mishit to deep midwicket. As the collapse gathered pace, the best catch fell to the wicketkeeper, Banton, as he ran back to catch Mark Watt first ball.

All that Derbyshire’s night lacked was a comedy run out. “No, big ‘un,” McKiernan yelled to Aitchison as he attempted a second run to deep midwicket. The cry went unheard. Perhaps he thought Scrimshaw is the big ‘un these days. Disheartened looks were briefly exchanged. Derbyshire had endured a disastrous night.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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