Somerset beat Worcestershire by 147 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup play-off
Tom Banton hit his highest List A score and his century laid the foundations for Somerset’s convincing 147 run victory over Worcestershire Rapids in the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final play-off at Blackfinch New Road.
The opening batsman profited from being dropped twice at first slip by Callum Ferguson before he had reached 20 – both off Rapids paceman Pat Brown - and went onto make 112 out of Somerset’s 337-8 from their 50 overs.
Then tight bowling backed up by sharp ground fielding extinguished the Rapids hopes of reaching the last four for a third successive campaign after a flat performance as they were bowled out for 190 in 38 overs.
Azhar Ali wrapped up the second half of the innings and finished with 5-34 from seven overs but by then a considerable slice of damage had already been done to Worcestershire’s hopes.
Somerset will now face North Group winners Notts Outlaws in Sunday’s last four encounter at Trent Bridge.
The visitors were put into bat on a fresh wicket by Rapids skipper Brett D’Oliveira.
New ball pairing Pat Brown and Charlie Morris delivered probing initial spells with the initial 10 over powerplay restricted to just 38 runs.
Banton, whose brother Jacques is a member of the Worcestershire Academy, survived two chances when on four and 18 off Brown to Callum Ferguson at first slip - the initial one a head high attempt and the second a low effort.
Wayne Parnell made the initial breakthrough with 66 on the board in the 14th over as Azhar Ali (29) caught via the inside edge by keeper Ben Cox away to his left.
Banton was full of inventive strokes and ‘ramped’ Ross Whiteley for six to bring up the century stand in 16 overs with Peter Trego.
A single down the ground off Daryl Mitchell took the 20-year-old to three figures from 95 balls with three sixes and 11 fours.
Brown struck in his first over back in the attack as Trego (37) went for a pull and bottom edged through to Cox.
Banton went past his previous best List A score of 107 versus Kent in the opening One-Day Cup match of the season.
But on 112 he turned Parnell straight to Brown at deep square leg with the total 203-3 in the 35th over.
Ed Barnard accounted for James Hildreth (38) and the England Lions player held onto two sharp chances, at point and long on, to dismiss Tom Abell (20) and Lewis Gregory (8) off Parnell and Morris respectively.
George Bartlett (4) holed out to long on off Brown who then held onto a sharp return chance offered by Roleof van der Merwe (13) but some late hitting by Craig Overton took Somerset to a formidable total.
Parnell’s 3-50 from 10 overs took his wicket tally in this year’s competition to 22.
Worcestershire had been reliant on Riki Wessels and Ferguson in scoring contrasting centuries when overhauling a target of 352 set by Derbyshire on Monday to reach the knockout stages.
But the duo both fell relatively cheaply on this occasion.
Wessels (16) drove Craig Overton to point and, after Tom Fell (22) was lbw to Lewis Gregory, Ferguson was undone by a fine piece of fielding from Abell.
Daryl Mitchell turned Gregory on the offside and set off for a quick single but Ferguson (21) failed to beat Abell’s direct hit from point with the total 68-3 in the 16th over.
D’Oliveira (10) was undone by a ball from van der Merwe that straightened and Cox (25) lobbed a gentle return catch to Azhar Ali.
Mitchell (34) drilled Gregory straight into the hands of Craig Overton on the cover boundary and Azhar Ali helped to polish off the innings as Barnard (3), Whiteley (33), Parnell (3) and Morris (0) succumbed in quick succession.
Somerset skipper Tom Abell said: “I think that was as complete a performance as we have been this season. We’ve been a bit of hit and miss through this competition obviously.
“But that win against Surrey (in the final group game) was huge for us in terms of getting that confidence back into the team.
“The way Bants (Tom Banton) playted upfront was outstanding because I thought our 330 score was 50 above par.
“It was difficult out there but he took it upon himself and played out of his skin.
“We’ve seen it before against Kent (when scoring 107 this season). He is very capable of that and there were good contributions around him.
“Then with the ball I thought we were outstanding. We just wanted to keep it simple and ‘smash’ a good length and make them hit us off it and we did that and took our chances.
“Then Azhar (Ali) at the end gets five wickets and he is a great team man first and foremost and delighted for him.”
Worcestershire First Team Coach Alex Gidman said: “A bad day at the office? Disappointed with today naturally. You genuinely have to give credit to Somerset. They played a fantastic game all-round and outplayed us today.
“We didn’t reach the levels of intensity or execution that we need to win any game and certainly not a quarter-final. Somerset did that and that’s why we are on the losing side today.
“There seemed something lacking today? I completely agree and we will talk about and try and understand why that was and right now I don’t have the answers.
“But we will certainly go away and learn and look at what we’ve done well in the competition and what we’ve done poorly.
“Today was one of those occasions where there were some harsh learnings to be had and sadly it means we are out of the competition.
“But we will certainly use this as motivation for T20 and for when the white ball stuff next year comes around again.”
Worcestershire - Tom Fell, Riki Wessels, Callum Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Brett D'Oliveira(c), Ben Cox(wk), Ross Whiteley, Ed Barnard, Wayne Parnell, Patrick Brown, Charlie Morris
Somerset - Tom Banton(wk), Azhar Ali, Peter Trego, James Hildreth, Tom Abell(c), George Bartlett, Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Josh Davey
©Cricket World 2019