Somerset’s Lewis Gregory relieved to shed ‘nearly men’ tag after Blast title win

By Sports Desk July 15, 2023

Captain Lewis Gregory savoured Somerset shedding their “nearly men” tag as they claimed a first Vitality Blast crown in 18 years.

While they won the competition in 2005, Somerset had been unrewarded on their previous seven visits to Finals Day, finishing runners-up in three successive years in 2009, 2010 and 2011 then again in 2021.

But a couple of accomplished bowling displays – in which they defended sub-150 totals against both Surrey in the semi-final then Essex in the Edgbaston showpiece – saw them belatedly end their hoodoo.

Gregory was beaming after Matt Henry’s four for 24 underpinned a 14-run win over Essex, who were all out for 131 in 18.3 overs when Daniel Sams was dismissed for a belligerent 45 off 26 balls.

“(It feels) pretty damn good,” said a relieved Gregory at the presentation ceremony. “I’ve been to finals day many, many times and this is a special feeling to get over the line.

“Everyone sees Somerset as the nearly men, and it becomes harder each time you come back. I was just praying we had a couple of guys who were having on of those days where you just can’t stop them.

“We did it the hard way throughout the day, it’s just rewards.”

A score of 142 for seven – in a match reduced to 19 overs per side because of rain – was enough for Somerset to move into Saturday night’s final, where they were all out for 145 in exactly 20 overs.

Adam Rossington and Dan Lawrence flew out of the traps for Essex, putting on 27 in 11 deliveries, but they were halted in their tracks by an accomplished spell of fast bowling from Henry, who took out both batters then produced the ball of the day with a bail-trimmer to see the back of Michael Pepper.

Ish Sodhi, signed on a short-term deal last month due to injuries to Peter Siddle and Roelof van der Merwe, made crucial inroads into Essex’s batting, with the New Zealand leg-spinner taking three for 22.

However, Sams played a lone hand to keep Essex in the game, prompting Gregory to turn to his ace Henry, who saw the first ball of his final over dispatched for a towering, straight six.

It was his third maximum of the game and left Essex needing 15 off the last 11 deliveries with just one wicket left, but a dot was followed by Henry offering width and Sams carving to short third, where Tom Kohler-Cadmore plucked the ball out of the air with a terrific one-handed grab.

“It’s going to be played a lot over the next wee while,” said Sodhi.

“He took an absolute hanger and it’s definitely one of the most exciting moments in my cricketing career so far, I’m glad he hung on to it because Sams is a dangerous player.

“T20 is a fickle game, with 15 runs left it’s effectively two and a half hits and you win the game, and Sams is well capable of that. It makes that catch that Tom took all that more special.”

Victory for Somerset marks the fifth successive occasion that the team who prevailed in the second semi-final also won the final.

While Sams was at the crease, Essex were always in with a chance but captain Simon Harmer felt the Australian’s dismissal to a breathtaking catch was one of many things that did not go their way.

Harmer conceded Somerset, who lost just twice in the entire campaign, were worthy winners but rued what he perceived to be luck being against them, having reached the final by defeating defending champions Hampshire.

“Hats off to Somerset, they were the better team – they outplayed us,” Harmer said. “We didn’t get the rub of the green, in my opinion, and on days like this, you need a bit of luck.

“I can’t fault the way the boys played it. At the very end Daniel Sams just needed someone to bat with him and unfortunately we kept losing wickets. Such is the nature of the game.”

Related items

  • Ferguson makes history as New Zealand end disappointing T20 World Cup campaign with a flourish Ferguson makes history as New Zealand end disappointing T20 World Cup campaign with a flourish

    New Zealand concluded their disappointing T20 World Cup campaign in style as they swept aside Papua New Guinea, emerging seven-wicket victors in Trinidad. 

    Lockie Ferguson starred for the Black Caps, becoming the first bowler at a men's T20 World Cup to bowl four maiden overs in a spell, claiming three wickets to dismiss their opponents for 78.

    Trent Boult ended with figures of 2-14 after taking out Hiri Hiri and Norman Vanua in what could be his T20I for his nation, after declaring this World Cup would be his last in this format.

    New Zealand started their chase shakily following the early loss of Finn Allen in the second ball of their reply, but Devon Conway's knock of 35 from 32 steadied the ship for Kane Williamson's side. 

    Conway hit three sixes before falling to Semo Kamea, with Williamson and Daryl Mitchell on hand to secure a Black Caps win and end the tournament on a high after they exited a World Cup before the last four for the first time since 2014.

     

    Data Debrief: Fantastic Ferguson dazzles 

    Ferguson's hugely impressive display saw him also become the second bowler in T20Is to record four maiden overs.

    The last to achieve that feat was Canada's Saad Bin Zafar, who took two wickets without conceding a run against Panama in a T20 World Cup Americas Region Qualifier in 2021.

     

  • Teams and fixtures confirmed for Super 8 stage at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Teams and fixtures confirmed for Super 8 stage at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

    The groups and fixtures for the Super 8 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 has been confirmed with both co-hosts West Indies and USA making it through to the second stage that will see the eight teams battle for a place in the semi-finals at the biggest cricket carnival spectacle ever.

    Super 8 qualifiers are:

    • Group A: India and USA
    • Group B: Australia and England
    • Group C: West Indies and Afghanistan
    • Group D: South Africa and Bangladesh

    The eight teams will be divided into two groups:

    • Group A: India, Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh
    • Group B: USA, England, West Indies, South Africa

    Four of the Super 8 qualifiers have won the World Cup previously, India, England, West Indies and Australia. Super 8 matches will be played across four West Indies venues: Antigua and Barbuda (four matches), Barbados (three matches), Saint Lucia (three matches) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (two matches).

    Each team will play every other team in its group once, with the top two sides in each group qualifying for the semi-finals, to be played in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana on 26 and 27 June, respectively.

    The Super Eight stage commences in Antigua on Wednesday 19 June with a clash between USA and South Africa at 10h30. That same evening West Indies take on old rivals, England in Saint Lucia. The two sides have a prolific cricketing history, with the co-hosts ensuring a dominant display at home against England in recent years.

    Full Fixtures (Local time)

    19 June

    USA v South Africa, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (10h30)

    England v West Indies, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia (20h30)

    20 June

    Afghanistan v India, Kensington Oval, Barbados (10h30)

    Australia v Bangladesh, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (20h30)

    21 June

    England v South Africa, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia (10h30)

    USA v West Indies, Kensington Oval, Barbados (20h30)

    22 June

    India v Bangladesh, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (10h30)

    Afghanistan v Australia, Arnos Vale, St Vincent (20h30)

    23 June

    USA v England, Kensington Oval, Barbados (10h30)

    West Indies v South Africa, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (20h30)

    24 June

    Australia v India, Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia (10h30)

    Afghanistan v Bangladesh, Arnos Vale, St Vincent (20h30)

     

  • Cricket West Indies CEO calls for equitable distribution of finances in cricket Cricket West Indies CEO calls for equitable distribution of finances in cricket

     Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Johnny Grave has emphasized the need for a more equitable distribution of finances in international cricket, particularly in the World Test Championship (WTC). In a recent interview with ESPN Cricinfo, Grave highlighted several recommendations to address the financial disparities that smaller cricket boards like CWI face.

     Currently, the WTC operates on a bilateral series model, where the home board retains all broadcast revenues, and the visiting team bears the cost of travel. This model significantly disadvantages smaller cricket boards, which often face substantial travel expenses. Grave suggested that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should centralize these costs to promote a more balanced financial structure.

     "We have to have a league mentality that we're all in it together as the Test playing nations,'" Grave said. "And I think the World Test Championship is a start to that. I think it's gaining some momentum. I think it can be improved. Centralize flights and accommodation within the World Test Championship and take on those costs as the costs of the league rather than placing all that burden on the participating teams as we're so negatively disadvantaged by that."

     India has toured the West Indies three times in the last five years, providing a substantial financial boost to CWI, which largely depends on media-rights money from Indian and English broadcasters. However, the travel costs for such tours can be prohibitive for the West Indies.

     Grave also called for a more equitable distribution of ICC revenues, pointing out that the current system disproportionately benefits larger boards like the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which receives nearly 40 per cent of the ICC's revenue share.

     "We made the point that we think there should be more equal revenue sharing of ICC distributions," Grave said. "And part of that equality was the spreading around the men's events."

     He believes that hosting rights should not be monopolized by India, England, and Australia. Instead, they should be more evenly distributed among Full Member nations to ensure fair financial and competitive opportunities.

     By addressing these financial inequalities and advocating for a more balanced approach to hosting world events, Grave believes that smaller cricket boards can become more sustainable and competitive on the global stage. His recommendations highlight the need for structural changes within the ICC to promote a more inclusive and equitable future for international cricket.

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.