There were several dramatic twists and turns on the final day of group matches in the Yorkshire Bank 40 before the identity of the four semi-finalists were confirmed. Hampshire and Nottinghamshire both booked their places with wins, with Glamorgan following suit soon afterwards, but four teams were left in the hunt for the last spot before Somerset secured it by beating Gloucestershire.
That Group C match had a lot riding on it with Northamptonshire desperately hoping for a narrow home win after beating Warwickshire at Edgbaston. However, they were to be denied as Gloucestershire could muster just 246 for seven in reply to Somerset’s 258 for nine. The Gladiators innings was a strange one, with all of the top five making at least 30 but none making more than Alex Gidman’s 41. That failure to play the long innings ultimately cost them as Jamie Overton and Alfonso Thomas took two wickets apiece. Craig Meschede (0-44) and Piyush Chawla (1-43) both bowled tidily in the middle of the innings.
Marcus Trescothick (50 off 46 balls) and Craig Kieswetter (42 off 38) had earlier got the Somerset innings off to a rollicking start with an opening stand of 105 in less than 13 overs. They were soon pegged back, though, as David Payne took three for 35 and Tom Smith (3-46) took a hat-trick by dispensing with Meschede, Lewis Gregory and Chawla. Jos Buttler prevented a complete collapse with a mature unbeaten 68 off 71 balls.
Glamorgan had booked their place by beating Yorkshire a little earlier and will go through as the ‘lucky losers’ following Somerset’s success. They overcame the loss of two early wickets in their run chase of 216 to win with seven balls to spare. Chris Cooke hit 84 off 78 balls and added 80 with Jim Allenby (40 off 44) for the third-wicket. There were the contributions from Marcus North (25 off 38), Murray Goodwin (22 not out off 24) and Graham Wagg, who made sure of victory by smashing 31 off 17 balls. Dan Hodgson had earlier top-scored for the Vikings with a career-best 90 off 98 balls, while Kane Williamson and Adam Lyth fell narrowly short of half-centuries.
The other Group C Match was an irrelevance, with Middlesex beating Leicestershire at Lord’s. The Foxes totalled 274 for eight after being asked to bat thanks to half-centuries from Greg Smith, Ned Eckersley and Matthew Boyce and a cameo of 31 off 11 balls from Tom Wells. Debutant Ollie Wilkin emerged as the pick of the Middlesex attack with two for 44. The Panthers then bounced back from a nervy start to win with 10 balls to spare. Stand-in captain Eoin Morgan found some much-needed form ahead of the forthcoming limited-overs internationals and hit 90 off 63 balls, while Adam Voges (37 off 48) and John Simpson both helped keep up the tempo. Simpson ended not out on 58 off only 39 balls.
In Group A, Nottinghamshire eased past Kent to secure a home tie. Alex Hales hit 74 off 90 balls to anchor their run chase of 196 and put on 107 with Samit Patel (59 off 70) for the fourth-wicket. Patel had earlier taken two for 30 in a disciplined Notts bowling effort that restricted the Spitfires to 195 for six. Brendan Nash top-scored with 47, while there were contributions from Rob Key (41) and Fabian Cowdrey (39 not out).
David Willey blitzed a brilliant 167 as Northamptonshire thrashed Warwickshire, but it still wasn’t enough for the Steelbacks thanks to Somerset’s subsequent win. Willey’s knock spanned just 101 balls and included 10 sixes to lead his side to an imposing 324 for six. Rob Keogh also played a part by hitting 61 off just 40 deliveries late on. Jeetan Patel was the comfortable pick of the Bears attack with figures of two for 32. The hosts then stumbled to defeat after a promising start given to them by William Porterfield (44 off 43) and Freddie Coleman (34 off 51). They were all out for 199 as Mohammad Azharullah took four for 20.
Sussex hammered Worcestershire to end their disappointing limited-overs campaign on a high. Luke Wright carried over his good form from the England Lions series by blazing 112 off 69 balls and adding 184 in 19 overs with Matt Machan (79 off 57) for the second-wicket. That broke the back of their run chase, with Thilan Samaraweera’s unbeaten run-a-ball 72 having been the best effort by a Pears batsman earlier in the day.
Hampshire ensured that they were the other team with a home semi-final tie thanks to comfortable win over a young Derbyshire side at the County Ground. Captain Jimmy Adams’ 64 was the best effort from a batting line-up that all chipped in to lead the Royals to 219 for seven. David Wainwright, Alex Hughes and Alasdair Evans picked up two wickets apiece for the Falcons. The home side then got off to a good start in their run chase as Chesney Hughes made 74 off 80 balls, but they rather fell away following his dismissal in the 23rd over. Michael Carberry took three for 37 with his off-spin, while Liam Dawson (2-29) and Chris Wood (3-23) both returned good figures as Derbyshire were bowled out for 178.
A superb unbroken partnership between Will Smith and Gordon Muchall helped Durham recover from 112 for five to demolish Surrey. Smith smashed a career-best 120 not out off only 79 balls, while Muchall made 52 off 54 balls as the Dynamos amassed 275 for five. Surrey were then never in the hunt as spinner Scott Borthwick (3-41) and Gareth Breese (4-33) shared seven wickets and they were skittled for 142.
Ravi Bopara and Tim Phillips ended Lancashire’s hopes of progression. Bopara made 130 off 102 balls, adding 159 with Greg Smith (78 off 77) for the second-wicket which, coupled with a late blitz from Ryan ten Doeschate (46 not out off 23), hauled the Essex up to 297 for four. Tom Smith gave the Lightning an excellent start but fell three short of his third List A century. He was bowled by Reece Topley, who supported Phillips well by taking three for 27, but it was the left-arm spinner who caused the bulk of the damage. He finished with figures of five for 42 as Lancashire lost their last eight wickets for 41 runs to be all out for 227.
The draw for the semi-finals was made shortly after the conclusion of the day’s action, with Hampshire set to play Glamorgan and Somerset to travel to Trent Bridge to take on Nottinghamshire. The dates and times are still to be confirmed, but a 1345 BST start on 7th and 9th September respectively appears likely.
Tuesday’s LV= County Championship Fixtures:
(previews to follow tomorrow)
LV=CCD1, Middlesex v Somerset at Lord’s
LV=CCD1, Warwickshire v Sussex at Edgbaston
LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Durham at Scarborough
LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Essex at Bristol
LV=CCD2, Lancashire v Hampshire at Southport
LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Worcestershire at Grace Road
LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Glamorgan at Wantage Road
County Cricket News In Brief:
Derbyshire could be forced to make two changes to their side for Wednesday’s crunch Championship match against Surrey according to the Derby Telegraph. Chesney Hughes will definitely be unavailable as he is flying to the USA for two weeks to be with his partner for the birth of their first child. Tim Groenewald’s partner is also expecting their first child imminently.
Glamorgan CCC have confirmed that recently departed managing director of the England cricket team and former player Hugh Morris will re-join the county. Morris will take up the post of chief executive relinquished by Alan Hamer yesterday and will also take on the role of director of cricket in a revamped coaching structure. Hamer reportedly left of his own accord to “pursue a number of other opportunities.”
Northamptonshire seamer Lee Daggett will retire from professional cricket at the end of the season according to reports in the local press. The 30 year-old was a key member of the Steelbacks’ Friends Life t20 winning side and will become a physio at Northampton Saints Rugby Club.
© Cricket World 2013