Jim and Mahela set up another RLODC win

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Mahela Jayawardene and Jim Allenby both scored half centuries to set Somerset up for a five run victory – knocking Hampshire out of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Somerset already had their South Group top spot guaranteed with Essex’s washed out game and will face Worcestershire in the quarter finals.

Three wickets from Tim Groenewald and two apiece from Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe and Max Waller completed the victory in tense circumstances.

Jayawardene and Allenby, who had won the toss and batted in gloomy conditions, appeared in little trouble as they put on 108 for the first wicket. Sri Lankan Jayawardene was the first to reach fifty, from 54 balls, before he was followed to the milestone by Allenby, who had earlier passed his 2,500 List A run, in 62 deliveries.

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However, the cementing partnership, which had come in little over 20 overs, ended when Jayawardene slogged Mason Crane to a slipping Jimmy Adams at long on. Allenby departed nine overs later when Gareth Berg took the catch at short fine leg.

Tom Abell was then bowled around his legs and Peter Trego was caught on the fine leg boundary after an industrious 31, including two huge sixes over the leg side. James Hildreth was unlucky with his dismissal as Gareth Andrew produced an outrageous one handed catch at backward point before Lewis Gregory was bowled by Liam Dawson.

Ryan Davies was caught at long on by Will Smith, Tim Groenewald was on the wrong end of a fleet handed stumping and Roelof van der Merwe was the last man back in the shed but the visitors reached 250 for nine.

Adams and Alsop attempted to follow their opposite openers by steadily accumulating runs in the chase but could not have the same effect as Jayawardene and Allenby as Alsop was lbw to Gregory with the score on 49.

Adams reached 3,500 career format runs on his way to his 27th limited overs half century off 58 balls but after facing just one more ball was trapped leg before by van der Merwe. Adam Wheater was also adjudged lbw to the slow left arm Netherlands international before stand in skipper Dawson and Smith added 30 for the fourth wicket to keep the score ticking over.

Dawson became the fourth player to fall leg before as Hampshire felt the squeeze as the run rate dropped to three per over. Frustrated, Ryan McLaren was bowled trying to give himself more space, while Smith reached fifty in 77 balls.

Hampshire needed 83 from the final 10 overs but lost Smith when he was caught behind and Gareth Berg was run out attempting an over throw. Andrew made a fist of it by striking a six over midwicket and a swept four but Groenewald accounted for Lewis McManus.

Only 14 runs were needed off the final over, but Andrew fell first ball to a steepling catch and Crane and Brad Wheal could only add nine more as the Scottish international was caught and bowled by Groenewald to hand Somerset victory and a home quarter final against Worcestershire.

If Somerset beat Worcestershire we will play either Warwickshire or Essex away in the semi final.

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Straight after the match a delighted Jim Allenby said: “The wicket was slow and taking a bit of spin. It was the same one we used for the NatWest T20 Blast last week so I thought that was probably enough runs. We played the conditions better than we did last week so 250 was about par on that pitch.

“It was slow and it was gripping and a bit of rain came in and actually improved the wicket for a little while but it showed just how close a game it was.

“We got off to a really nice start and it was the best time to bat on the pitch with the new ball, especially with it being under covers all night which sometimes suits the team batting because it skids on a bit.

“Once again I thought that Mahela played brilliantly and it’s just a shame that one of us didn’t kick on a little bit further, but they were important runs in the game.

“We bowled nicely and the guys got rewarded.  Once again the spinners bowled brilliantly as they have the whole tournament.

“To have that attitude and that will to win is really important and that is something we have been trying to get into this team.”