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September 20, 2011
It may not have been one of the marquee ties of the Champions League Twenty20, but there were still nine cricketers with international experience on display as Auckland took on Somerset. However, the match-winner was a player who doesn't have a permanent first-class team and has had to consider a new career.
Even Steve Snell called himself the "third-choice" keeper as he soaked up the occasion after a nerveless 34 off 24 balls which helped Somerset home by four wickets with Alfonso Thomas hitting the vital final run. Alongside James Hildreth, who until recently was pushing for an England place, he added 61 in eight overs in a match where most batsmen struggled.
"We perhaps played a little more sensibly than the others," Snell told ESPNcricinfo shortly after his innings. "I'd have been pretty disappointed if we didn't win that after the partnership we had. We also knew that the pressure was really on Auckland because it was an absolute must-win for them."
Somerset only arrived in Hyderabad on September 19 having played the CB40 final at Lord's on September 17, but Snell believes the whirlwind journey has helped. "It's been non-stop; we didn't have time for a training session when we arrived and just had a game of water polo this morning but it meant expectations were low from outside the team. However, the side themselves were always confident they could win."
Snell's professional career has been on hold for a year since he was released by Gloucestershire at the end of the 2010 season having played for them since 2005. He spent most of the 2011 summer playing Minor Counties cricket for Hertfordshire . "I thought my one-day statistics were pretty good," he said. "I felt pretty hard done by when I was let go [by Gloucestershire]; it was quite a shock. Hopefully this tournament gives me a chance to show counties what I've got."
The victory has put the county in with a good chance of qualifying for the lucrative main draw, but if Somerset do go through Snell has no guarantee of being there if Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler join up after England duty. "I'm not sure of the rules, and whether I'd be allowed to stay, but hopefully I've left them with some tough decisions," he said.
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