Somerset won a thrilling NatWest T20 Blast game for the second time at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton this season and in doing so sent Surrey tumbling to their second defeat of the campaign.
Although Chris Gayle provided one or two fireworks with 31 from 13 balls at the top end of the innings, it was Johann Myburgh and Roelof van der Merwe who led the way as Somerset overhauled Surrey’s 186 for four with four balls to spare.
Having won the toss, Surrey lost their first wicket in the fifth over when Jason Roy was caught by van der Merwe off Craig Overton for 28.
Kumar Sangakkara was well caught by Gayle at extra cover off Yasir Arafat for 37 off 19 balls. The Sri Lankan struck seven boundaries in his short stay at the crease and was understandably miffed when Gayle stuck out a hand and held on to a smart catch. In the very next over, Rory Burns departed for a single when he was caught by Craig Overton at deep mid wicket at 96 for three. At that stage, Surrey needed a partnership of real substance. Thanks to Sibley and Dwayne Bravo they got it.
The pair added 69 off 42 balls with Bravo helping himself to 15 before van der Merwe held on to a wonderful catch on the deep mid wicket boundary. Sibley continued to lead the way for Surrey and though Somerset bowled well at the death, the 20-year-old bolstered the visitors’ total to 186 for four with an unbeaten 74 off 55 balls. The youngster, who hurt his back in trying to hit Jamie Overton out of the ground, struck six fours and three sixes.
Somerset’s reply was only eight balls old when captain Jim Allenby top edged a Ravi Rampaul delivery to wicket keeper Ben Foakes at 10 for one. Normal order was restored, for the Somerset supporters, off the final three balls of Rampaul’s first over. Gayle, looking to improve on the 49 he scored against Essex at the ground seven days previously, struck all three deliveries for six. Another six off Tom Curran followed before the West Indian star was caught by countryman Bravo on the square leg boundary for 31 at 37 for two. Bravo was celebrating again three balls later when Peter Trego gloved a short ball to Foakes for two at 39 for three.
With two of the big hitters having departed, it was left to Myburgh and Gregory to pick up the pieces. Myburgh, who batted so well against Gloucestershire in the Royal London One-Day Cup last Sunday, struck successive sixes off Tom Curran to help Somerset to 57 for three after five overs. Myburgh, who continued to punish anything over-pitched, took his side to 100 in the 10th over, but lost fourth wicket partner Gregory at 102, caught by Foakes off Sam Curran for 21.
The disappointment was only temporary as Myburgh brought up his 50 off 28 balls in the 12th over and laid the platform for Somerset’s second victory of the season. Myburgh and van der Merwe put on an unbeaten 87 for the fifth wicket with the former finishing 86 not out and van der Merwe unbeaten on 39.
Shortly after the game Jim Allenby who had just led his side to their third one day victory at home said: “Tonight was an amazing chase. We were a little bit disappointing in the field if I am honest but it was nice to win the game after that wake up call. With two wins and two losses it keeps us in the hunt in this competition, and if we have another week like this one then we will be going really well.”
Johann Myburgh, who has scored three white ball half centuries on the bounce said: “I thought that the bowlers kept their composure well. 180 was reachable and we could chase that. From a batting point of view I thought that Lewis played really well and then Roelof played a superb innings and as far as T20 innings go that is right up there.”
Regarding his own run of form Johann said: “It’s always nice to get some consistency especially in white ball cricket because the games come thick and fast and it helps if you can keep your rhythm. I am enjoying batting at the top of the order in the 50 over format which is my favourite and that got me going. I was hitting the ball nicely and thankfully it worked for me. I think you have to be clear when you are playing T20 because it is a very fast game. You can try second guessing too much and try too hard. I try to stand as still as possible, know where I am strong and when a ball gets into that area you have to trust your instinct and ability to hit the ball.”
“Once you have got the momentum in T20 it’s very important to be clever and keep it going. Sometimes you can get ahead of yourself and take things on you shouldn’t, so the important thing is to stay within yourself, be nice and clear and trust yourself.”
Johann added: “The boys are happy and a lot of them are hitting the ball nicely. A lot of the bowlers are bowling nicely and very smartly, so as a team there are a lot of guys who are doing their jobs well.”