Somerset clinch place in the Royal London One-Day Cup play offs with win over Surrey
James Hildreth hit a stylish 93 as Somerset clinched a place in the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-finals with a five-wicket win over Surrey at Taunton.
Dean Elgar, playing against his former county, top-scored with 64 as Surrey posted 289 for nine after losing the toss. Ben Foakes (46), Jamie Smith (40) and Ryan Patel (41 not out) were the other main contributors.
Jamie Overton finished with four for 64 from nine overs and Craig Overton three for 48 from ten in a home attack that never allowed the batsmen to break loose.
In reply, Somerset reached their target with more than four overs to spare, Hildreth receiving valuable support from opener Tom Banton (53) and George Bartlett (57 not out). Conor McKerr was the pick of the Surrey bowlers with three for 56.
It was a seventh defeat in eight group matches for the visitors, who will want to forget the competition as soon as possible.
Surrey made a steady start to their innings, reaching 41 after ten overs for the loss of Mark Stoneman, caught behind playing a defensive shot to Josh Davey.
With the total on 52, Will Jacks pulled a catch to deep mid-wicket off Jamie Overton and departed for 17, but Elgar looked well set, moving to a half-century off 63 balls, with 3 fours and a six.
Rory Burns (22) helped add 61 for the third wicket before being stumped down the leg side by Banton off the left-arm spin of Roelof van der Merwe.
The key wicket of Elgar fell with the total on 129. The South African chased a short wide delivery from Craig Overton and edged through to Banton.
From then on Surrey found it hard to accelerate, although Foakes was threatening when caught by Craig Overton at long-on to give brother Jamie his second wicket.
Smith played some eye-catching shots, hitting 4 fours and a six in his 41-ball innings, which ended when he was well caught by Azhar Ali at mid-off, having top-edged at pull shot off Jamie Overton.
The Somerset twins like nothing more than competing with each other. Craig sent back Jordan Clark (21) and Stuart Meaker, while Jamie added Conor McKerr to his victims as only Patel of the Surrey tail made an impact, striking 3 fours and 2 sixes.
Patel then took a stunning diving catch with his left hand at backward point to dismiss Azhar Ali off McKerr in only the third over of Somerset’s reply. The same bowler bowled Peter Trego for 16 in an impressive opening five-over spell of two for 16 from the River End.
Banton moved to an attractive fifty off 55 balls, but then undid all his good work by reverse sweeping Gareth Batty straight to deep point. It was a disappointing way to get out with Somerset going well on 98 for two in the 18th over.
Hildreth breezed to a typical half-century off 52 balls, but Tom Abell’s contribution ended on 25 when McKerr, who had switched ends, had him caught at fine leg off a top-edged pull.
It seemed that Hildreth would see Somerset to victory as he moved effortlessly into the nineties. But a lapse in concentration saw him pull a catch to wide mid-on off Jordan Clark, having hit 11 fours and a six in his 89-ball innings.
It mattered little as Bartlett played with sound common sense to reach his maiden List A fifty and Lewis Gregory calmed any late nerves with two big sixes off Elgar and two more off McKerr.