Kolkata v Somerset, CLT20 qualifier, Hyderabad

Somerset win battle against spin

Somerset were not undone by Kolkata's spinners, like Auckland had been. They attacked them instead

Abhishek Purohit in Hyderabad

September 22, 2011

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

Roelof van der Merwe gets down on his knee to play through the off side, Kolkata Knight Riders v Somerset, CLT20 qualifier, Hyderabad, September 21, 2011
Roelof van der Merwe scored 37 off 19 balls against the slow bowlers © AFP
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Kolkata Knight Riders were listless in the field, Somerset were sharper. Auckland were good too but they lost both their qualifying games. Fielding is - even in the age of Twenty20 - a skill ancillary to batting and bowling. What allowed Somerset's fielders to apply pressure was the good old weight of runs scored by their batsmen, led by Peter Trego, which ultimately overwhelmed Kolkata.

Kolkata's slow bowlers had confounded Auckland into messing up their small chase of 121 a couple of days ago. Four Somerset players watched that game from the stands. Their approach today showed that they had watched closely.

Somerset came hard at Kolkata's spinners right from the start. Their methods were not pretty, they didn't even find the middle of the bat initially, but they proved effective. The frenetic burst at the top could easily have fizzled out but Somerset did not let the fall of a wicket spoil their momentum. If anything, each incoming batsman only upped the tempo.

Roelof van der Merwe is usually inclined to give it a thump, and the first delivery he faced from Yusuf Pathan, he duly swung over midwicket. Yusuf pitched short in the same over and Trego immediately smashed him past point.

Rajat Bhatia was the other bowler who, with Yusuf, had brought Kolkata back against Auckland. Trego and van der Merwe hit a boundary each in what turned out to be Bhatia's only over of the game.

It was in the next over, the tenth, that Somerset stamped their authority on the spinners. Yusuf's first delivery was not that short but Trego dispatched it over midwicket. Yusuf fell apart after that, conceding for 17 in the over. After van der Merwe's departure, Nick Compton provided the spark at the death and Somerset surged to 166.

Trego said what allowed Somerset to approach spin with an uninhibited mind was that they faced a lot of it during the English domestic season. "We have practised very hard against spin. Because we are a powerful batting line-up, in England every team plays a lot of spin against us," Trego said. "We have had to overcome it. We got to another final this year with sometimes only eight overs of seam being bowled per match. We have progressively got better. I think a lot of the guys know their games better now."

Jacques Kallis, the Kolkata captain, said the pitch played better compared to the one for their game against Auckland and that helped Somerset play the way they did. "It was a different wicket," Kallis said. "The ball came on very well."

To prove it was their batsmen's skills and not the pitch that facilitated the victory, Somerset's spinners picked up 6 for 86 runs to beat Kolkata at their own game.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 22, 2011, 21:20 GMT)

I wish all teams the very best. However, some anti-IPL folks need to realize that there is NOTHING wrong in building a team from a mix of foreigners and locals. I am only opposed to the fact that there are FOUR IPL teams instead of 1 or 2. O.K I can understand even the top 3 teams from the league BUT come on ! why are KKR in this tournament ? this clearly shows the CLT20 organizers need more cash inflow and revenue generation. More Indian teams means MORE money !! Next year they need to seriously think about including at least ONE Pakistani team and also perhaps a team from Zimbabwe or Bangladesh.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (September 22, 2011, 15:27 GMT)

I make that England 9 India 0. 10-0 to come on Sunday!

Posted by Ninjaman on (September 22, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

Here's a thought - could it be that there's more passion playing for a team than for a franchise? I suspect that even the Indian players don't have much of an association with the area they're playing for, but I'm no expert on these matters. Sachin is from Bombay so his alliance with MI is obvious, but are there others? Educate me.

Posted by maddy20 on (September 22, 2011, 12:30 GMT)

@bobmartin You should also understand that Kolkata are playing without their Captain and best player Gautam Gambhir, arguably the best player of spin in sub-continental conditions. We will see how your Buttlers and Kieswetters do in India.

Posted by bobmartin on (September 22, 2011, 11:55 GMT)

@maddy20... Your comments show how little you know about cricket, at least anywhere outside the sub-continent. The reason Trescothick is not there is well documented and has nothing to do with your alleged fearsome bowling. He's scored hundreds against better bowling than anything that your lot could throw down at him.. Get your facts right before uttering such inane drivel. And as for Kieswetter and Buttler (with two t's incidentally), they both play in the team at the same time, Buttler as a batsman and an extremely good fielder whilst Kiesewtter opens and keeps wicket. So there's nothing unusual there... Again simple facts that any cricket supporter should know.

Posted by ncurd on (September 22, 2011, 11:55 GMT)

@dh74 I think he just doesn't understand that someone who is a specialist wicket keeper can still take to the field as a normal fielder. Which is what Jos does quite often and he's actually one of Somerset's best in that department. @maddy just about everything you said is incorrect. Somerset's last game in the group stage is against Warriors on 5th not Bangalore. Leicestershire were knocked out by the Sri Lanka and WIndies champions (why Champions had to through a pre-qualifier will always escape me and yes I know money is the answer I just don't agree with it). Trescothick doesn't travel abroad get over it most of the world has, about time everyone else did as well. It has nothing to do with being scared or anything to do with the Cricket pitch. He suffers from anxiety from being away from home. I get incredibly annoyed when anyone feels its right to knock a man of that quality and character as a cheap shot for any reason.

Posted by Ninjaman on (September 22, 2011, 11:35 GMT)

Oi, maddy20 - calm down, son. Just so you have the full facts, Marcus Trescothick isn't there because he doesn't travel overseas. It isn't because he's scared, it's because he has an illness. This is also why he doesn't play international cricket any more. This is a man who destroys any attack, regularly. I'd hate to think what would have happened to India on their recent tour had he still been playing for England. Secondly, Kieswetter and Buttler both play when available, Buttler purely as a batsman. If RCB win the tournament, then good luck to them. Until then, relax! You'll do yourself a mischief.

Posted by Guernica on (September 22, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

Why can they only field one wicket-keeper @maddy20?? Is this some strange Indian by-law? Somerset haven been playing both Keis and Buttler all season. Very likely that Keis will come in for Chris Jones (who had not even played a T20 match before this tourney) and Buttler will come in for Snell, who would be unfortunate to be dropped but Buttler is their best T20 player.

Posted by Shash_MadAbtCric on (September 22, 2011, 9:49 GMT)

Now you know why Yousuf can't find place in national team... He comes with huge expectations only to depart within minutes... No doubt he can be a good allrounder but need to be carefull with his shot selection and stay at crease bit longer...

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (September 22, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

The IPL teams have something to prove still. Despite the rules being stacked in their favour their performance in the first Champions League was poor and first contact with this Champions League is showing that the IPL franchises are still far from unbeatable. Somerset have come without their best players and have gone straight - literally - from an English county season into the qualifiers with no time even to get over jet lag, but have made an important statement of intent. With reinforcements to come for Somerset and with T&T proving that they are likely to be as formidable as they were in the first Champions League, the IPL teams are facing a new challenge to their authority as the masters of the format.

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